Skip to main content

Full text of "The soul of John Brown"

See other formats


tfthnmt uf 



ELLA SMITH ELBERT «38 

JitilUmtirntw 

KATHASIEE E. COMAN 



THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



THE MACMILLAN COMPANY 

NEW YORK • BOSTON • CHICAGO • DALLAS 
ATLANTA • SAN FRANCISCO 

MACMILLAN & CO., Limited 

LONDON • BOMBAY • CALCUTTA 
MELBOURNE 



THE MACMILLAN CO. OF CANADA, Ltd, 

TORONTO 



THE SOUL OF 
JOHN BROWN 



STEPHEN GRAHAM 



ileto gorfe 

THE MACMILLAN COMPANY 
1920 

Ml Riihts Restrvci 



Copyright, 1920, 
By THE MACMILLAN COMPANY 



Set up and electrotyped. Published October, 1920. 



CONTENTS 



Chapter Page 
I Thoughts on Slavery .... 3 
II In Virginia 22 

HE Orators and Actors, Preachers 

and Singers 70 

IV In Tennessee 97 



V Marching Through G-eorgia . . 119 

VI Tramping to the Sea .... 152 

VH After the War: the Vote ... 182 

VIII In Alabama: Color and Color 



Prejudice 195 

IX The Southern Point of View . . 211 

X Exodus 232 

XI In North Florida and New Orleans 240 

Xn The New Negro Mind .... 263 

XIII Negro Leadership s ... . 282 

XIV The World Aspect 291 

XV Up the Mississippi .... 309 

XVE At Vicksburg 328 



The Negro slaves were released in 1863. They 
and their children number twelve millions out 
of a total of a hundred millions of all races 
blending in America. Where do the children 
of the slaves stand to-day? 



I 

THOUGHTS ON SLAVEEY 

Although Charles Lynch of Virginia used to 
suspend British farmers by their thumbs until 
they cried out Liberty for ever! and lynching 
has continued ever since, America is neverthe- 
less at bottom free, or at least was intended to 
be so by the idealists and politicians who 
brought her forth. America is a living reproof 
of Europe, and it has been generally conceived 
of as a land where men should suffer no 
encroachment upon their personal liberty, 
where they should reap duly the fruits of their 
labors, where no man should sap their rugged 
independence or infringe upon the sovereign 
equality of their social rights, where govern- 
ment should be entirely by consent of the gov- 
erned, not handed down from above as from 
superior beings or masters, but controlled from 
below, from the broad base of toiling humanity.* 
The first discoverers were plunderers and 
seekers after barbaric gold and gems, but her 
real pioneers were God-fearing men who laid 
the foundations of modern American civiliza- 
tion by honest work and a boundless belief in 
the development of free democracy, The insti- 



3 



4 



THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



tution of slavery was therefore the thing which 
in theory was most abhorrent to the American 
mind. It is a curious anomaly that a very short 
while after the Declaration of Independence the 
land from which America separated became 
free of slavery, and the British flag pre-emi- 
nently the flag of freedom. But America, freed 
though she had become from political inter- 
ference on the part of Britain, nevertheless 
inherited Negro slavery; and the economic pros- 
perity of at least one-half of the country was 
founded on the most hideous bondage in world 
history. Those who had fled Europe to escape 
tyrants had themselves, under force of circum- 
stances, become tyrants. 

Not that anyone willed slavery in America or 
designed to have it. It was an economic acci- 
dent. It was in America before most of the 
Americans. The first Negro slaves were brought 
up the James Biver in Virginia before the 
Mayflower arrived, and as Negro orators say 
to-day, "If being a long while in this country 
makes a good American, we are the best Ameri- 
cans that there are." Slavery had grown to 
vast proportions by the time of the war against 
Britain. New America in 1783, standing on the 
threshold of the modern era, inherited a most 
terrible burden in her millions of slaves. It 
was a burden that was growing into the live 
flesh of America, and no one dared face at that 
time the problem of getting free of it. 



THOUGHTS ON SLAVERY 5 



The actual American people as a whole were 
little responsible for the institution of slavery. 
The pioneers hated and feared it. The planters 
always condemned it in theory, and after the 
Emancipation of 1863 no one of any sense in 
the South has ever wished it back. Even in 
those States where slavery took deepest root 
and showed its worst characteristics, there was 
throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth cen- 
turies a persistent resistance on the part of the 
colonists against having black servile labor 
introduced. 

To cite one colony as in a way characteristic! 
of the whole attitude of the colonists toward 
slavery, Georgia might be taken. Georgia was 
originally an asylum for the bad boys of too 
respectable British families and for discharged 
convicts and hopeless drunkards. Eoyal char- 
ter guaranteed freedom of religion (except 
to Papists) ; an embargo was placed on West 
Indian trade, so as to stop the inflow of rum; 
and Negro slavery was forbidden. All for the 
good of reprobates making a fresh start ! 

Invalids and merchants settled on the coast 
and made the society of Savannah. The bad 
boys proved to be too poor stuff with which to 
found a colony, and a special body of a hundred 
and thirty frugal and industrious Scots and a 
hundred and seventy carefully chosen Germans 
were brought in. Real work in Georgia com- 
menced at Ebenezer, on the Savannah River, 



6 THE SOUL OF JOHN BEOWN 



and at New Inverness. The merchants strove to 
get slavery introduced ; the Scots and the Ger- 
mans strove to keep it out. At Savannah every 
night polite society toasted "The One Thing 
Needful" — Slavery. The common talk of the 
townsfolk was of the extra prosperity that 
would come to Georgia if slaves were brought 
in, the extra quantities of cotton, of rice, of 
timber, and all that middlemen could re-sell. 
The ministers of religion actually preached in 
churches in favor of an institution sanctioned 
by the Bible, and it was thought that a service 
was done for Christ by bringing the black men 
out of Africa, where they were somewhat inac- 
cessible, and throwing them into the bosom of 
the Christian family in America. But the Scots 
and the Germans remonstrated against the per- 
mission of an evil shocking to human nature 
and likely to prove in time not a blessing but 
a scourge. 

Over in South Carolina slavery was in full 
possession, and the wealth of the Carolinian 
merchants was a soreness to the lean traders of 
Georgia. Cupidity prompted underhand means 
to achieve the desired end. Slaves were im- 
ported on life lease from owners in South Caro- 
lina. One could not purchase the freehold of a 
Negro's liberty and energy, only a ninety-nine 
years' lease of it, as it were, but that sufficed. 
Freedom fell, the charter was abrogated, and 
under the sway of a royal governor the flood- 



THOUGHTS OX SLAVEEY 7 



gates of slavery were opened wide. In due time 
Georgia became one of the worst slave States of 
the South. It remains to this day one of those 
where in any case the contemporary record of 
burning and lynching is most lurid. It would 
not be unsafe to draw the conclusion that the 
introduction of slavery did as much harm to the 
souls of the original Germans, Scots, and Eng- 
lish and their descendants as to the Negroes 
themselves. 

The settlers were, however, loath to employ 
slaves, and for some years there was little 
change. It was the rich immigrants from South 
Carolina and elsewhere who embarked on large 
enterprises of planting with a labor basis of 
black slaves. The poor white laboring class was 
gradually ruined by competition with slave 
labor. And then it became generally under- 
stood that everyone had to employ slaves, and 
it was unbecoming for a white man to toil with 
his hands. The poor Whites were if anything 
more despised than the black slaves, and often 
indeed actually despised, paradoxically enough, 
by the latter. In some parts there sprang up 
bands of white gypsies and robbers called 
"pinelanders," who stole from Black and "White 
alike, and lived by their wits. 

In Africa the Negro tribes strove with one 
another in savagery, and sold their prisoners 
to the Negro traders or White agents, who 
dragged them to the coast, There they were 



8 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



herded in the holds of noisome slaving vessels, 
indiscriminately, nakedly, fortuitously, the vio- 
lent ones tied up or chained, the gentler ones 
unloosed. None knew whither they were going, 
and even those victorious tribes who sold them 
to the white man knew nothing of the destina- 
tion of the victims they thus despatched. Hun- 
dreds of thousands, nay, millions of tribesmen 
of all kinds and shades of black and brown were 
thus exported to the Indies and the Colonies 
and sold into bondage to the civilized world. 
Arrived in America, the slaves were sold to 
merchants or auctioned as common cattle and 
sent up country to work. A healthy male slave 
of good dimensions and in his prime would fetch 
a thousand dollars and young women eight 
hundred dollars, and fair-sized girls five hun- 
dred. Olmsted gives a price list which was 
handed him by a dealer; that was in 1853. * In 
earlier years the price was considerably less, 
and always varied according to the demand. 
The raw, first-come Negro slaves were not sold 
as retinue for the rich, but as colonial utilities 
to be worked like cattle on the farms and plan- 



♦Beet men, 18-25 $1,200-$1,300 

Fair men 950- 1,050 

Boys 375- 950 

Young women 800- 1,000 

Girls, 5 ft 750- 850 

" 4 ft. 9 ins 700- 750 

4 ft 350- 450 



— "A Journey Through the Seaboard 
Slave States/' by F. L. Olmsted. 



THOUGHTS ON SLAVERY 9 



tations. Cotton was the staple, and in thinking 
of the time the eye must range over a vast 
expanse of cotton plantations and see all the 
main work done by Negro gangs of men and 
women in charge of slave drivers. As Olmsted 
describes a gang of women in a characteristic 
passage — "The overseer rode about them on 
a horse, carrying in his hand a rawhide whip 
. • . but as often as he visited one end of the 
line the hands at the other end would discon- 
tinue their labor until he turned to them again. 
Clumsy, awkward, gross, elephantine in all their 
movements; pouting, grinning, and leering at 
us; sly, sensual, and shameless in all their ex- 
pression and demeanor ; I never before had wit- 
nessed, I thought, anything more revolting . . 
In 1837 the whole of Georgia, and indeed of the 
South, was worked by black slaves — the poor 
white labor (chiefly Irish) had diminished 
almost to disappearance. Slave labor was 
founded on slave discipline, and the discipline 
on punishment. There was no particular readi- 
ness on the part of the savages to do the work 
given them or understand what they had to do. 
Whether they could have been coaxed or per- 
suaded is problematical. Farmers have not the 
time or the spirit for coaxing. The quickest 
way was by inspiring terror or inflicting pain. 
It might have been different if the Negro could 
have been given any positive incentive to work, 
but there was none. He had therefore to be 



10 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



flogged to it. The smallest gang had its driver 
with his whip. The type who to-day has become 
politely a 1 6 speeder up 9 9 was then the man with 
the whip. He could have had more power by 
using his whip infrequently and on the most 
stubborn slaves, but that was not the common 
man's way. He flogged hard and he flogged 
often. On a typical Georgian plantation the 
field driver had power to inflict twelve lashes 
there and then when trouble occurred. The 
head driver could give thirty-six and the over- 
seer fifty. Every morning there would be a 
dozen or so special floggings by the overseer or 
his assistant at the office. Women if anything 
fared worse than men. On the slightest provo- 
cation their scanty clothes were thrown over 
their heads and they were subjected to a beat- 
ing. Naked boys and girls were tied by their 
wrists to boughs of trees so that their toes 
barely touched the ground, and lashed. The 
overseer did it, the owner's son did it, upon 
occasion the owner himself did it. 

There were pleasant exceptional homes in 
Virginia and the Carolinas and elsewhere where 
there was no flogging and no cruelty whatso- 
ever, but instead a great mutual affection. 
Slavery may have been wrong there also, or it 
may have been justifiable. But it was not on 
account of the happy slaves that John Brown 
sallied forth at Harper's Ferry, but because of 
the many unhappy ones, As the whole intensity 



THOUGHTS ON SLAVERY 11 



of the Negro trouble is centered in the evils 
of the institution of slavery, it is necessarily 
on these that one must insist, though the excep- 
tions be not lost sight of. 

It is often said that the slaves were seldom 
hurt because, since they were property, it be- 
hooved a master to take care of them and pre- 
serve them. But that is fallacious. Men got 
pleasure out of beating their slaves as they 
get pleasure out of chewing tobacco, drinking 
spirits, and using bad language. It grew on 
them; they liked it more and more. In many 
cases no proficiency or industry could save the 
slaves from a flogging. And, besides that, there 
was current in Georgia and all the more com- 
mercial parts a theory that it was most profit- 
able to use up your slaves every seven years 
and then re-stock. 

Slaves of course were bred, and it is conceiv- 
able that it might have been generally more 
profitable to have a breeding farm of Negroes 
and sell the children than work them off in 
seven years. But there was little method in the 
minds of the planters. They tried to combine 
the seven-years system and breeding at the 
same time. Every girl of sixteen had children, 
every woman of thirty had grandchildren. But 
the women were worked up to the last moment 
of pregnancy on the cotton fields and sent back 
three weeks after delivery, and even flogged 
then. The poor women lay on straw on earthen 



12 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



floors in their torments, moaning in their ago- 
nies. When sent back to the fields too soon they 
suffered horrible physical torment. They often 
appealed to their masters: 6 1 Me make plenty 
nigger for massa, me useful nigger.' ' But more 
than half of their offspring were allowed to die. 
The mother would have been worth her keep as 
a mother, but, no, she must fill her place in the 
hoeing line instead of looking after her 
children. 

There were few genuine Negro families. All 
were herded or separated and sold off in 
batches and re-herded with little or no regard 
to family relationships, though these poor, 
dark-minded slaves did form the most intimate 
and precious attachments. The slaves' fervent 
hope was that massa would marry and have 
children, so that when he died they would not 
be sold up, but remain in the family. 

Illegitimacy in sexual relationships raged. 
Almost every planter had besides his own 
family a dusky brood of colored women. No 
likely girl escaped the overseers. Poor whites 
and pinelanders broke into black quarters and 
ravished where they would. There seemed little 
squeamishness, and there was little enough 
effective resistance on the part of black girls. 
The institution of slavery with its cruelties had 
brutalized men's minds. As for the Negro 
women, one can well understand how little femi- 



THOUGHTS ON SLAVERY 13 



nine shame would remain when the bare hips 
were so commonly exposed and flogged. 

"Oh, but don't you know — did nobody ever 
tell or teach any of you that it is a sin to live 
with men who are not your husbands V 9 asked 
Fanny Kemble of a slave. The latter seized her 
vehemently by the wrist and exclaimed : 

"Oh, yes, missie, we know — we know all about 
dat well enough ; but we do anything to get our 
poor flesh some rest from the whip; when he 
make me follow him into de bush, what use me 
tell him no? He have strength to make me."* 

Probably the slave drivers and other white 
men obtained some sensual gratification from 
flogging women. Brutality of this kind is often 
associated with sexual perversity. The taking 
of Negro women showed a will toward the 
animal and was an act of greater depravity 
than ordinary deflections from the straight and 
moral way. Not that there was not pride in 
pale babies and even a readiness on the part 
of some Negresses to give themselves to white 
men. As a plantation song said : 6 1 Twenty-four 
black girls can't make one mulatto baby by 
themselves.' 9 

By flogging and rape and inhuman callous- 
ness did the white South express its reaction 
to black slavery. There were also burnings, 

* "Two Years on a Georgian Plantation," by Frances 
Kemble. 



14 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



demoniacal tortures, flogging to death, and 
every imaginable human horror. It may well 
be asked: Hoiv came it about that those who 
protested so high-mindedly about the introduc- 
tion of slavery did not use the slaves kindly and 
humanly when they were forced to have them? 

The answer I think lies in the fact that no 
man is good enough to have complete control 
over any other man. No man can be trusted. 
Give your best friend or neighbor power over 
you, and you'll be surprised at the use he will 
make of it. Even wives and children in this 
respect are not safe in the hands of their hus- 
bands and parents if they are understood as 
possessions. "She belongs to me and I'll kill 
her," Gorky makes a drunken cobbler say 
"Ah, no, she does not belong to you; she is a 
woman, and a woman belongs to God, 9 9 says the 
Russian friend. 

There is indeed little more terrifying in 
human experience than the situation which 
occurs when one human being is entirely in the 
power of another, when the prisoner in the 
dungeon confronts his torturer, when the un- 
protected girl falls completely into the power 
of a man, when Shylock has Antonio delivered 
to him, and so forth. 

Cruelty can be awakened in almost any man 
and woman — it can be developed. A taste for 
cruelty is like a taste for drink or sexual desire 
or drugs. It is a lust. It is indeed one of the 



THOUGHTS ON SLAVERY 15 



worst of the lusts. One can forgive or excuse 
a man the other lusts, but cruelty one cannot — 
and indeed does not wish to forgive or excuse. 
Yet how readily does it develop. 

The incredible story is told of a young girl 
lashed by the overseer, threatened with burn- 
ing. She runs away. It is a gala day on the 
plantation. The white men hunt her to the 
swamps with bloodhounds and she is torn to 
bits before their eyes. They love the spectacle 
of terror even more than the spectacle of pain. 
The Negro, of nervous, excitable nature, is 
marked out by destiny to be a butt for cruelty. 
It is so to-day, long after emancipation; the 
Negro, in whom hysterical fear can be awak- 
ened, is the most likely to be lynched or chased 
by the mob or slowly burned for its delight. 
More terrible than the act of cruelty is the state 
of mind of those who can look on at it and gloat 
over it. After all, a lynching is often roughly 
excusable. A man commits a heinous crime 
against a woman, scandalizing the community, 
and the community takes the law into its own 
hands. The rightness of the action can be 
argued. But what of the state of heart of a 
mob of a thousand, watching a Negro burning 
to death, listening happily to his yells and cry- 
ing out to 1 1 make him die slow"? It is an ap- 
palling revelation of the devil in man. 

And despite the fact that such cruelty ago- 
nizes the mind of the tender-hearted and sym- 



16 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



pathetic, we must remain tolerant in judgment. 
We must not tolerate intolerance; in all other 
respects we must be tolerant. 

Cruelty is in man. The planters did the nat- 
ural thing with the slaves who came into their 
power. The white South would slip into the 
same way of life again to-day if slavery could 
be introduced. What is more, you and I, and 
every man, unless he were of an exceptional 
nature, would succumb to the system and dis- 
grace ourselves with similar cruelty. A demon 
not altogether banished still lurks in most of us 
and can easily be brought back. Lust lives on 
lust and grows stronger ; and cruelty, like other 
cravings, is a desire of the flesh, and can easily 
become devouring habit. We are greater brutes 
after we have committed an act of cruelty or 
lust than we were before we committed it, and 
we are made ready to commit more or worse. 

Concomitant with cruelty is callousness. An 
indifference which is less than usual human 
carelessness sets in with regard to creatures on 
whom we have satisfied our lusts. Flogging 
makes a heavy flogged type of human being who 
looks as if he had always needed flogging. It 
ceases to be piquant to flog him. The old Negress 
with brutish human lusts written all over her 
body is not even horrible or repulsive, elle 
n' exist e plus. The old, worn-out drudge lies 
down to die in the dirty straw, the flies gather- 
ing about his mouth, and expires without one 



THOUGHTS ON SLAVEEY 17 



Christian solace or one Christian sympathy. 
Though ministers waxed eloquent on the Chris- 
tian advantages to the Blacks of being brought 
from pagan Africa to Christian America, there 
quickly sets in the belief that after all Negroes 
are like animals and have no souls to save. 

This callousness showed worst in the selling 
of slaves, the separating of black husband and 
wife, parents and children, family and family, 
with the indifference with which a herdsman 
separates and detaches sheep from his flock. 
This, despite the manifest passionate tender- 
ness and attachment of slave to slave, and even 
upon occasion slave to master and home. 

The state of the slaves grew most forlorn, for- 
saken of man, unknown to God. A prison twi- 
light eclipsed the light of the sun-flooded South- 
land. A consciousness of a sad, sad fate was 
begotten among the slaves. All the tribes of 
the Negroes became one in a community of suf- 
fering. And gradually they ceased to be mere 
savages. They grew to something higher — 
through suffering. It was a penal offense for 
many a long year even to preach Christ to them. 
Slaves were beaten when it was found out that 
they had been baptized. But before the Blacks 
were brought to Christ they must have got a 
great deal nearer Him than had their masters. 
It was illegal to teach a slave to read and write. 
But the Negroes in a mysterious way learned 
the white man's code and secretly obtained his 



18 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



Bible and plunged into the Old Testament and 
the New. The white man rightly feared that the 
spread of education among the slaves would 
endanger the institution. They spoke of slavery 
as the institution as if it were the only one in 
the world. They also feared the spread of 
Christian teaching. 

As it happened, the Negro soul was very 
thirsty for religion and drank very deeply of 
the wells of God. The Negroes learned to sing 
together, thus first of all expressing corporate 
life. They drew from the story of Israel's suf- 
ferings a token of their own life, and they 
formed their scarcely articulate hymns — which 
survive to-day as the only folklore music of 
America. 

Go down, Moses, 

Way down in Egyp' Ian*. 
Tell ole Pharaoh 
Le' ma people go! 

Israel was in Egyp' Ian', 

Oppres' so hard dey could not stan\ 
Le* ma people go! 

or the infinitely pathetic and beautiful 

In the valley 
On my knees 
With my burden 
An* my Saviour 

I couldn't hear nobody pray, O Lord, 
Couldn't hear nobody pray. 
O — way down yonder 

By myself 
I couldn't hear nobody pray. 



THOUGHTS ON SLAVEEY 19 



Chilly waters 
In the Jordan, 
Crossing over 
Into Canaan, 

I couldn't hear nobody pray, Lord, 
Couldn't hear nobody pray. 
O — way down yonder 

By myself 
I couldn't hear nobody pray. 



Hallelujah! 
Troubles over 
In the Kingdom 
With my Jesus. 

I couldn't hear nobody pray, Lord, 
Couldn't hear nobody pray. 
O — way down yonder 

By myself 
I couldn't hear nobody pray. 

The poor slave was very much — way down yon- 
der by himself, and he couldn't hear nobody 
pray. Jesus seemed to have been specially born 
for him — to love his soul when none other was 
ready to love it, to comfort him in all his suf- 
ferings, and to promise him that happy heaven 
where unabashed the old woolly-head can sit by 
Mary and "play with the darling Son," as an- 
other ' 4 spiritual 9 ' expresses it. 

The first Negro preachers and evangelists had 
the inevitable persecution, and as inevitably the 
persecution failed. The North grew very sym- 
pathetic, and Bibles grew as plentiful in the 
South as dandelion blossoms. It became the 
unique lesson book of the Negro. It alone fed 
his spiritual consciousness. He obtained at once 
an appreciation of its worth to him that made 



20 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



it his greatest treasure, his only offset against 
his bondage. He learned it by heart, and there 
came to be a greater textual knowledge of the 
Bible among the Black masses than among any 
other people in the world. It is so to-day, 
though it is fading. The spiritual life of the 
Negro became as it were an answering beacon 
to the fervor of the Abolitionists of the North, 
most of whom were passionate Christians of 
Puritan type. 

The South grew sulky, grew infinitely sus- 
picious and restive, and irritated and fearful. 
It began to fear a general slaves' rising. The 
numerical superiority of the Negroes presented 
itself to the mind as an ever-growing menace. 
The idea of emancipation was fraught with the 
economic ruin it implied. It is difficult now to 
resurrect the mind of society preceding the 
time of the great Civil War. It is the fashion 
to emphasize the technical aspect of the quarrel 
of North and South, and to say that the war was 
fought in order that the Union might be pre- 
served. But it is truer to say that it was fought 
because the South wanted to secede. And the 
South wished to secede because it saw more 
clearly every day that the institution of slavery 
was in danger. Every month, every year, saw 
its special occasions of irritation, premonitory 
splashing out of flame, petty explosions and 
threats. More slaves escaped every year. The 
Underground Railway, so called, by which the 



THOUGHTS ON SLAVEBY 21 



Friends succored the poor runaways and 
brought them out of danger and distress into 
the sanctuary of the North grew to be better 
and better organized. On the other hand, the 
punishments of discovered runaways grew more 
barbarous and more public, and the rage of the 
North was inflamed. 

Heroic John Brown made his abortive bid to 
light up a slaves' insurrection by his wild ex- 
ploit of Harper's Ferry. And then John 
Brown, old man as he was, of apostolic aspect 
and fervor, was tried and condemned. He did 
not fear to die. But he wrote to his children 
that they should "abhor with undying hatred 
that sum of all villainies, slavery," and while 
he was being led to the gallows he handed to a 
bystander his last words and testament — 

I, John Brown, am now quite certain that 
the crimes of this guilty land will never be 
purged away but with blood. I had as I 
now think vainly flattered myself that with- 
out very much bloodshed it might be 
done. . . . 

And in his ill-fitting suit and trousers and loose 
carpet slippers John Brown was hanged silently 
and solemnly, and all the troops watching him, 
even stern Stonewall Jackson himself, were 
stricken with a sort of premonitory terror. 
Soon came the great war. 

And the slaves were made free. That is their 
story. "Where do they stand to-day? 



n 



IN VIRGINIA 

By the abolition of slavery mankind threw off 
a great evil. The slave owner escaped as well 
as the slave. For, although our human sympa- 
thy goes more readily to the slaves themselves, 
it is nevertheless true that it was as bad for the 
spirit and character of the owners as for those 
of their chattels. To-day in America, and espe- 
cially in the South, there is a hereditary taint 
in the mind derived from slavery and it is to be 
observed in the descendants of the masters as 
much as in the descendants of the slaves. It 
would be a mistake to think of this American 
problem as exclusively a Xegro problem. It is 
as necessary to study the white people as the 
black. The children of the owners and the over- 
seers and the slave drivers are not the same as 
the children of families where no slaves were 
ever owned. Mastery of men and power over 
men have been bred in their blood. That in 
part explains the character of that section of 
the United States where slaves were most 
owned, and the brutality, cruelty and sensual- 
ity which upon occasion disfigure the face of so- 
ciety in 1920. The old dead self leers out with 



22 



IN VIRGINIA 



23 



strange visage from the new self, which wishes 
to be different. 

If you see a white man in New Orleans roll- 
ing his quid and spitting out foul brutality 
against "niggers," you will often find that his 
father was a driver on a plantation. Or if in 
that abnormal way so characteristic of the 
South you hear foul sexual talk about the 
Negroes rolling forth from a lowbrow in Vicks- 
burg, it is fairly likely that he is full of strange 
black lust himself, and that his father and 
grandfather perchance assaulted promiscuously 
Negro women and contributed to the writing of 
racial shame in the vast bastardy of the South. 
If you hear a man urging that the Negro is not 
a human being, but an animal, you will often 
find that he himself is nearer to the animal. His 
fathers before him held that the Negroes were 
animals and not humans. And, believing them 
animals, they yet sinned with the animals, and 
so brought themselves down to animal level. 
You see a crowd of white men near Savannah. 
They are mostly proud of their English origin. 
Yet they are going to burn a Negro alive for kill- 
ing a sheriff. How is it possible in this century? 
It is possible because it is in the blood of the 
children. They crave to see Uncle Tom's flesh 
crackling in the flames and hear his hysterica] 
howls. Their fathers did. Their children's chil- 
dren will do the same unless it is stamped out 
by the will of society as a whole, 



24 THE SOUL OF JOHN BEOWN 



Of course the inheritance of evil is not the 
same in all classes of society. Everyone inherits 
something from the baleful institution, but not 
everyone the same. The mind of the coarse 
"White is crude and terrible, and the mind of the 
refined is certainly different. One should per- 
haps be more lenient to the poor, and more 
urgent in criticism of the rich. For all stand 
together, and the disease is one not merely of 
individuals, but of the whole. The rich and cul- 
tured condone the brutality of the masses 
because they have a point of view which is 
incompatible with theirs. 

Those whose ancestors treated the slaves well, 
claim to be immune from all criticism. There 
were in the old days many kind and considerate 
masters to whom the Negroes were wonderfully 
attached. But even these masters suffered from 
the institution of slavery, as any rich man suf- 
fers from dependence on retainers and flunkeys 
and servants whom he practically owns, as all 
suffer who are divorced from the reality of earn- 
ing their living as equals with their neighbors. 
And their children, brought up amidst the sub- 
missive servility of the Negroes, grew to be little 
monarchs or chiefs, and always to expect other 
people to do things for them. Where ordinary 
white children learn to ask and say "please," 
they learned to order and command and to 
threaten with punishment. The firm lip of the 
educated Southerner has an expression which 



IN VIRGINIA 



25 



is entirely military. In the army, one asks for 
nothing of inferiors except courage on the day 
of battle. All is ordered. And the power to 
order and to be obeyed rapidly changes the ex- 
pression of the features. It has changed the 
physiognomy of the aristocracy in the Southern 
section of the United States. You can classify 
all faces into those who say "please' ' and those 
who do not, and the children of the slave owners 
are mostly in the second category. Unqualified 
mastership; indifference to dirt and misery in 
the servant class; callous disregard of others' 
pain, or pleasure taken in their pain ; slaves said 
to be animals and not human beings, and the 
superadded sin of bestiality, using a lower caste 
to satiate coarse lusts which the upper caste 
could not satisfy; the buying and selling of 
creatures who could otherwise only belong to 
God — all these terrible sins or sinful conditions 
are visited on the third and fourth generation 
of those who hate, though as must always be 
said, God's mercy is shown to thousands of 
them that love Him and keep His eternal com- 
mandments. 

The children of the slaves also inherit evil 
from their slavery. The worst of these are re- 
sentment and a desire for revenge. Doubtless, 
slavery sensualized the Negro. He was the pas- 
sive receptacle for the white man's lusts. Most 
of the Negroes arrived in America more morally 
pure than they are to-day. As savages, they 



26 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



were nearer to nature. Mentally and spiritually 
they are much higher now, but they have 
learned more about sin, and sin is written in 
most of their bodies. It is sharpest in the mulat- 
toes and "near whites" — those whose ancestors 
were longest in slavery have the worst marks 
of it in them. The state of the last slaves to be 
imported into America is much simpler and 
happier than the rest. The moral character of 
the black Negroes is also simpler than that of 
the pallid ones. But this is anticipating my 
story. I set off to study the ex-slave because 
the civilized world is threatened by what may 
be called a vast slaves' war. In Eussia the 
grand-children of the serfs have overthrown 
those who were once their masters, and have 
taken possession of the land and the state; in 
Germany Spartacus has arisen to overthrow the 
military slavery of Prussianism; and the wage 
slaves are rising in every land. There is a vast 
resentment of lower orders against upper 
orders, of the proletarians, who have nothing 
and are nothing, against those who through 
inheritance or achievement have reached the rul- 
ing class. The Negroes are in no way to be com- 
pared to the Russians in intellectual or spiritual 
capacity: they are racially so much more unde- 
veloped. Much less divided Russian serf from 
Russian master than slave from planter. But it 
is just because the contrast between the Ameri- 
can white man and American black man is so 



IN VIEGINIA 



27 



sharp and the quarrel so elemental in character 
that it has seemed worth while to explore the 
American situation. And if the struggle is more 
elemental, it can hardly be said that there is not 
more at stake. American industrialism is rav- 
aged by waves of violent revolutionary ferment. 
If ill-treatment of the Blacks should at last force 
the twelve millions of them to make common 
cause with a revolutionary mob, polite America 
might be overwhelmed and the larger portion 
of the world be lost — if not of the world, at 
least of that world we call civilization. 

"What, then, of the Negro ? What is he doing, 
what does he look like, what does he feel to-day? 
It is impossible to learn much from current 
books, so, following the dictum: "What is re- 
markable, learn to look at it with your own 
eyes," I went to America to see. 

I chose Olmsted as my model. In 1853 Olm- 
sted made a famous journey through the sea- 
board States, holding up his mirror to the life 
of the South in slavery days. The book which 
records his impressions and reflections is one 
of the most valuable in American literature. 
This great student of nature went methodically 
through Virginia, the Carolinas and Georgia, 
Alabama and Louisiana. A pilgrimage not un- 
like his has to be repeated to-day to ascertain 
how the ex-slave is, what he is doing, how the 
experiment of his liberation has prospered, and 
what is his future in the American Common- 



28 THE SOUL OF JOHN BEOWN 



wealth. But as America is so much more de- 
veloped in 1920. and more problematical in the 
varied fields of her national life, it has been 
necessary to make a broader, if more rapid, 
survey of the whole South. I made the follow- 
ing journey in America : I went slowly south 
from New York to Trenton, Philadelphia, Bal- 
timore, and Washington, staying some days at 
each and seeing America grow darker as it vis- 
ibly does when yon watch faces from trolley car 
windows going from town to town southward. 
I was on South Street, in Philadelphia ; watched 
the well-paid artisans and laborers at the docks 
of Baltimore, visited there the polite homes of 
the colored working class, cleaner, richer, cozier 
than that of the average British workman on 
Tyneside or London Docks. I climbed the Lin- 
coln Heights to talk to Nanny Burroughs and 
see her good training college for colored women 
there; was at Howard University and talked 
with black and gentle Professor Miller and with 
the pale and intellectual Enirnett Scott. I sailed 
down the Potomac to Xorfolk, Virginia, Uncle 
Sam's great naval base, going to be the greatest 
of its kind in the world; crossed to Newport 
News and talked with black rivetters and chip- 
pers and others in the shipbuilding yards ; then, 
following the way of the first English colonists 
and also the first Negro slaves, went up the 
James River to Jamestown, and on to Rich- 
mond, the fine capital of the Old Dominion. I 



IN VIRGINIA 



29 



traveled to Lynchburg and its tobacco indus- 
tries, went from thence to 1 ' sober" Knoxville, 
investigating the race riot there and the atti- 
tude of Tennessee. From Knoxville I went to 
Chattanooga and Birmingham, in each of which 
great steel centers I met the leading Negroes 
and investigated conditions. I was at Atlanta, 
and walked across Georgia to the sea, following 
Sherman. A three-lrundred-mile walk through 
the cotton fields and forests of Georgia was 
necessary in order to get a broad section of the 
mass of the people. The impression left behind 
by Sherman's army which laid waste the coun- 
try and freed all the Negroes there gave also 
something of the historical atmosphere of the 
South. From Savannah, which was the point on 
the sea to which General Sherman attained, I 
went to Brunswick and Jacksonville, thence 
to Pensacola, and on from Florida to New 
Orleans and the Gulf plantations. I journeyed 
up the Mississippi on a river steamer, stayed 
at the Negro city of Mound Bayou, was at Vicks- 
burg and Greenville and Memphis, and then re- 
paired once more to the contrasting North. 

Crossing the Mason-Dixon line was rather a 
magical and wonderful event for me. After all, 
the North, with its mighty cities and industrial- 
ized populations, is merely prose to one who 
comes from England. Pennsylvania is a projec- 
tion of Lancashire and Yorkshire, New York is 
a projection of London, and massive "Washing- 



30 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



ton has something of the oppressiveness of Eng- 
lish park drives and Wellingtonias. But south- 
ward one divines another and a better country. 
It has a glamour; it lures. There the orange 
grows and there are palms; there is a hotter 
sun and brighter flowers. Human beings there, 
one surmises, have a more romantic disposition 
and warmer imagination. Eeposing on the vast 
feudalism of Negro labor there is a more stately 
way of living, life is more spacious. And at the 
resorts on the coast of Florida and the Gulf of 
Mexico a great number of people live for pleas- 
ure and happiness, and not for business and 
ambition. 

I journeyed on a white-painted steamer in 
the evening down the Potomac to Old Point 
Comfort, leaving behind me the noise and. glare 
of Washington and the hustle of Northern 
American civilization. It was the crossing of 
a frontier — without show of passports or exam- 
ination of trunks, the passing to a new country, 
with a different language and different ways. 
The utter silence of the river was a great con- 
trast to the clangor of the streets of Philadel- 
phia and Baltimore and the string of towns I 
had been passing through on my way South. 
Sunset was reflected deep in the stream, and 
mists crept over the surface of the water. Then 
the moon silvered down on our course, my cabin 
window was full open and the moon looked in. 
I lay in a capacious sort of cottage bed and was 



IN VIRGINIA 



31 



enchanted by the idea of going to " Dixie," of 
which we had all sung so much; and the soft 
Southern airs and night and the throbbing of 
the river steamer gliding over the placid water 
gave an assurance of some new refreshment of 
spirit. With a quaint irrelevance the whole 
British army, and indeed the nation, had been 
singing " Dixie' 9 songs throughout the war — 
"Just try to picture me, way down in Ten- 
nessee" we were always asking of one another. 
Now, behold, the war was over, and it might be 
possible to go there and forget a little about all 
that sordid and tumultuous European quarrel. 

All night the river whispered its name and 
lulled the boat to sleep. Dawn on the broad 
serenity of the waters at Old Point Comfort 
was utterly unlike the North, from which I had 
come, and the last ten days of jangling trolley 
cars hustling along shoppy streets. A morning 
star shone in the pale-blue sky, lighting as it 
were a vestal lamp over the coast, and we looked 
upon Virginia. As the sun rose, vapor closed 
in the scene. "We made the port of Norfolk in a 
mist which seemed each moment getting 
warmer. The chill winds of October were due 
in the North, but Virginia was immune. Dur- 
ing the week I spent in the city of Norfolk and 
on Hampton Eoads it did not get less than 85 
in the shade, even at night. The weather, how- 
ever, was hotter than is usual even in Eastern 
Virginia at that time of the year. 



32 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



I obtained the impression of a great city 
rather cramped for want of space, and in this 
I suppose I was right. By all accounts Norfolk 
has trebled its population during the war, and 
needs to have its center rebuilt spaciously and 
worthily. When Olmsted came through in 1853 
he records that Norfolk was a dirty, low, ill- 
arranged town, having no lyceum or public 
library, no gardens, no art galleries, and though 
possessing two 1 ' Bethels' ' having no "Sea- 
men's Home" and no place of healthy amuse- 
ment. He rather makes fun of a Lieutenant 
Maury, who in those days was having a vision 
of the Norfolk of the future, and saw it one of 
the greatest ports in the world, being midmost 
point of the Atlantic coast and having an inner 
and an outer harbor with perfect facilities of 
ingress and egress in all weathers. 

To-day Lieutenant Maury's vision has proved 
prophetic. In the maps of the new America 
which is coming, Norfolk is destined to be 
printed in ever larger letters. The war showed 
the way. The determination of America to be 
worthily armed at sea made it certain, and the 
future of Norfolk, with Hampton Eoads and 
Newport News, is to be the primary naval base 
of the Atlantic coast. The military and naval 
activities of Norfolk during the war were very 
important. Eastern Virginia was a great train- 
ing ground, and Norfolk the main port of em- 
barkation of troops for Europe. Shipbuilding 



IN VIRGINIA 



33 



and naval construction also were in full swing. 
Great numbers of laborers, especially Negroes, 
seem to have been attracted. The number no 
doubt is exaggerated, but the colored people 
there number themselves now at one hundred 
thousand. They have been attracted by the high 
wages and the record of Norfolk for immunity 
from mob violence. A lynching is not in any- 
one's remembrance. Trouble might have broken 
out during the war, but Norfolk possessed an 
excellent "City Manager'' who was always 
prepared. 

On one occasion some five hundred sailors set 
out to "clean up colored town," but they were 
met by an adequate force of armed police and 
marines and changed their minds. On the other 
hand, a mob of colored crews and troops started 
an attack on the town jail, but a few armed 
men quickly dispersed them. 

I noticed at once that the Blacks of Norfolk 
were very much more black than those of Wash- 
ington or New York. Their hair was more 
matted. Their eyes were more goggly. They 
were more odorous. When the black chamber- 
maid had been in my room for two minutes it 
was filled with a pungent and sickening odor. 
The elevator reeked with this odor. It was the 
characteristic smell of my first Southern hotel. 
I noticed it on the trolley cars. It was wafted 
among the vegetables and fruit of the city 



34 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



market. Indeed, the whole town had it. I grew 
used to it after a while and was told by those 
who were liberal of mind that every race had 
its smell. For instance, to certain tribes of 
Indians there was said to be nothing so disgust- 
ing as the smell of a perfectly clean white man. 
Even when a man who has a bath every day 
and a change into perfectly fresh linen came 
into his presence, the Indian felt sick. Negroes 
were supposed to notice the smell of white men, 
but were too subservient or polite to remark 
upon it. There is, however, a good deal of doubt 
about this point in human natural history. The 
smell that we have is the smell of the animal in 
us, and not of the more human or spiritual part 
of us. One knows the smell of the bear and the 
fox, and that the wolf has a stronger smell than 
the dog, and the wild cat than the domestic cat. 
Bloodhounds are said to follow the trail of the 
Negro more readily than that of the white man, 
and it might reasonably be argued that the ter- 
rible odor of the Blacks is due to their greater 
proximity to an animal stage in development. 
Be that as it may, I quite see that this odor is 
something which the Negro will have difficulty 
in living down. I learned that he was very sen- 
sitive about it, as about his kinky hair, and that 
the more educated and refined he became the 
more he strove to get rid of these marks. That 
explained to me why in all those happy streets 
of prosperous Baltimore at every corner there 



IN VIRGINIA 35 

was a "Beauty Parlor," where specialists plied 
Mme. Walker's "Anti-Kink," and why the 
prosperous Negro workingman demanded a 
bathroom and hot water in his home. The rea- 
son why the Blacks seem blacker in the South 
seems to be because they are segregated in 
"Jim Crow" sections of the cars, and none of 
the black comes off on white people, but is on 
the contrary intensified by the shadow of black 
looks. 

The colored folk here, moreover, seemed to 
talk more in the way they are supposed to talk, 
and are not mincing the American tongue, as in 
the North. Outside my room one maid says: 
"You's a fool, sister Ann." "Yas, sister Sue, 
dat's 'zackly what I am," says the other, and 
laughs and repeats it as if it were the greatest 
joke — "Dat's 'zackly what I am." 

I went into the streets to seek the Eev. B , 

a leading colored preacher of Norfolk. I stood 
in wonderment before a whitewashed chapel 
with large china-blue stained-glass windows 
luridly depicting our Lord's baptism and the 
opening of the heavens over the Jordan. A 
grizzled old Negro in a cotton shirt stopped 
in front of me and exclaimed insinuatingly, 
"You's looking at cullud folks' church; ain't it 
bewtiful?" I took the opportunity to ask for 

the Eev. B . He led me along and pointed 

up a flight of wooden steps to a sufficiently 
handsome dwelling place. 



36 THE SOUL OF JOHN BEOWN 



Eev. B on seeing me had a gleam of doubt 

on his face for perhaps one second, but only for 
a second. One instinctively felt that here in 
Virginia, where the color line is sharply drawn, 
no white man is likely to present himself on 
terms of equality to a black man without the 
desire to patronize or some guile of some kind. 
It is rare for any white man to call upon any 
educated black man, and very rarely indeed that 
he comes to him in a straightforward, honest, 

and sincere manner. So the Eev. B showed 

doubt for a moment, and then suddenly, after a 
few words, his doubt vanished. In my subse- 
quent journeying and adventures it was always 
thus — doubt at first glance, and then, rapidly, 
the awakening of implicit trust and confidence. 
I personally found the Negroes nearly always 

friendly. Mr. B was a sparely-colored, lean, 

intellectual young man, a capable white man in 
a veil of dark skin. He was all but white. I 
looked at his webby hands — what a pity, it 
seemed, that, being so near, he could not be 
altogether. And yet I realized that in such men 
and women, no matter how fair they be, the 
psyche is different. There is something in- 
tensely and insolubly Negro in even the nearest 
of near whites. 

Eev. B took me all over the city. He was 

evidently extremely well known to the colored 
people, for our conversation was intertwined 
with a ceaseless 



IN VIRGINIA 



37 



"How do, Kevrun?" 
"How do?" 

He showed me his charmingly built church 
(not that with the china-blue windows), con- 
trived in graceful horseshoe style, with gradu- 
ated, sloping gallery, richly-stained windows, 
and a vast array of red-cushioned seats. A 
black organist was discoursing upon the organ, 
and a voluminous, dusky charwoman with large 
arms was cleaning and dusting among the pews 
faelow. 

There sat under Eev. B every Sunday a 

fair share of the quality colored folk of Norfolk. 
"I am glad that you have come to me, because 
I can show you an up-to-date and proper 
church," said the pastor. "There are nine or 
ten like this in Norfolk, but when a stranger 
asks to see a Negro church he's usually taken to 
some out-of-the-way tabernacle of the Holy 
Folks or some queer sect where everyone is 
shouting Hallelujah, and it all seems very 
funny. But if you'll come to me on Sunday 
morning you'll hear a service which for dig- 
nity and spiritual comeliness will compare with 
any white man's service in any part of the 
world. You mustn't think of us as still cotton 
pickers and minstrels and nothing more. There 
is a great deal of Negro wealth and refinement 
in this city of Norfolk." 

"How do you get on with white ministers?" 
I asked. "Do you work together?" 



38 THE SOUL OF JOHN BEOWN 



"Oh, white ministers do not recognize black 
ones on the street/' said he. "My neighbor, for 
instance, knows me well enough at the Baptist 
Conference, and by his talk I see he knows all 
about my church. But here in the city he can- 
not afford to know me. Yet he has not half so 
many worshippers at his church, nor do they 
pay him half the salary which my people pay 
me. He dare not spend on his clothes what I 
spend; he has not such a well-appointed home. 
Yet if we meet on the street — he doesn't know 
me." 

This was evidently a sore point. 

We went to Brown's Bank. Brown has gone 
to Philadelphia to start a second Negro bank. 
The first one has been in existence ten years. 
Brown is a financier, and something more than 
that. For he encourages the Negro theatres and 
is greatly helping his people along their way. 
"We also visited the polite edifice of the Tide- 
water Bank and Trust Company, which has been 
built since the Armistice. "It was contracted 
for by Negroes and built by Negroes alone," 
said the treasurer proudly — a blunt, bullet- 
headed, whimsical fellow, with an intense desire 
to push business and to hustle. All the clerks 
and stenographers were colored. Each teller 
sat in his steel cage for which he alone held the 
key. All the latest banking machinery was in 
operation, including the coin separator and 
counter and wrapper, and the adding machine. 



IN VIRGINIA 



39 



I worked an imaginary account under colored 
direction, using the adding machine, and gave 
assent to its infallibility. They showed me their 
strong room, and I peeped at their cash re- 
serves. The treasurer and "Revrun" then took 
me up into a high mountain, namely, the Board 
Room, which was in a gallery overlooking the 
whole of the working part of the bank. 

"My motto,' ' said the treasurer, "is, 'Folks 
who only work for us as long as they are paid 
will find they are only paid for what they have 
done. 9 We work here till we are through, be it 
eleven or "twelve o 'clock at night. The man who 
isn't hard is not for us." 

We talked about the Negro. 

"He must win freedom," said the banker. 
"It is never a bequest, but a conquest. You 
can't have redemption without the shedding of 
the Precious Blood, can you, Reverend! I am 
fighting for the Negro by succeeding in business. 
There's only one thing that can bring him re- 
spect, and that is achievement." 

These were his most impressive words. We 
walked out of the new bank. 

"He has his knock-about car and his limou- 
sine and a finely appointed house and a gov- 
erness for his children," said Rev. B , as 

we footed it once more in the sun-bathed street. 
"But of course you can be a millionaire to-day 
and it won't help you to marry even the poor- 
est white girl. Or you can be a Negro heir- 



40 THE SOUL OF JOHN BEOWN 



ess, but no amount of wealth will induce a white 
man to marry a colored girl. For the matter of 
that, though, there are Negroes so white you 
couldn't tell the difference, and we've got plenty 
to choose from if our tastes lie that way. If a 
Negro wants to marry a white, he can find plenty 
within his own race." 

Eev. B was himself married to a woman 

who could pass as white, in Southern Europe, 
and his children were little white darlings with 
curly hair. "We hailed a heavy 1 1 F and D 9 9 car. 
I will not mention the actual name of the build. 
A young colored dandy was sitting in it. "You 
see this car?" said Eeverend. "It belongs to 

Dr. E . It 's an 'F and D.' In many places 

the agents will not sell this build of car to a 
Negro, even for cash down." 

""Why is that?" 

"Well, it's a fine type of car, and rich white 
men in a city don't care to see a colored man 
going about in one exactly the same. An agent 
would lose business if he sold them to Negroes. 
What's more, whether he lost business or not, 
he wouldn't do it. Here in Virginia, however, 
there is not so much prejudice, but when you go 
further South you'll find it." 

We got into the car. The young dandy proved 
to be a doctor's assistant, a sort of apprentice 
to the great physician we were about to meet. 
He had graduated at Fisk, which he called the 
Negro Athens. He was dressed in a well-cut 



IN VIRGINIA 



41 



suit of gray, a rich necktie, and a felt hat which 
was in excellent taste. His complexion was of 
the cocoa-brown, highly-polished type, and his 
large eyes were quiet and reflective, as if un- 
awakened to the joy of life. Politely chatting 
to us, he guided the beautiful car along some of 
the most terribly rutty and broken streets. 

"We pay equal taxes/' said he, "but because 
colored people live in these streets the city 
won't repair the roads. They are all rich 
people living in these houses, all Negroes. Sev- 
eral of them own cars. . . . Now look on the 
other hand at this street. It's a white street, 
all smoothly repaired. What a beautiful sur- 
face; see the difference!" Eev. B urged 

this point also. It was a striking example of 
inequality, and one that makes a strong appeal. 

Dr. E proved to be a rich practitioner 

living in a delightful villa with polished floors 
and a French neatness and charm in the furni- 
ture and decorations. The sun blinds were all 
down, and a pleasant creamy light was diffused 
upon his books and pictures and silk-uphol- 
stered divan. He was very busy, but said he 
could always spare a few moments from his 
profession if it were a question of helping his 
race, and he thought nothing could help the 
Negroes more than a dispassionate review of 
their situation by a white man who could bring 
it not merely before America, but before the 
world. He had more patients than he could 



42 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 

deal with, all Negroes, with the exception of a 
few Jews. The Jews have no prejudice, and are 
ready to be attended by a good doctor, whatever 
the color of his skin, which is a point in any 
case in favor of the Jews. For a long while the 
Negroes distrusted their own doctors, and 
thought that only a white man could possibly 
have the skill to treat them. But a later genera- 
tion has discovered that their own folk have an 
excellent grasp of medicine. My further ac- 
quaintance with a considerable number of col- 
ored doctors in the South has led me to the 
conclusion that their temperament suits them 
admirably. They make good doctors. What is 
more, they naturally understand the Negro's 
body and constitution and nervous system bet- 
ter than the white man, and the pathology of 
the Negro is very different from that of the 
white man. The white doctor as yet has not 
given much separate study to the Negro's body 
— though it is certainly very different from 
ours in many ways. He is inclined perhaps to 
be a little brutal and offhand with Negro 
patients — and they certainly are tiresome, with 
their superstitious fear of ill health and evil 
eyes, and what not. This impatience has helped 
the colored practitioner. Negroes, like other 
people, go where they are best treated, and the 
medical attendance upon a hundred thousand 
people could make many doctors rich. 

In the old slavery days the Negroes were just 



IN VIRGINIA 



43 



a broad base where all were equal. To-day the 
"race" has lifted up an intelligent and pro- 
fessional class. The working Negro population 
of Norfolk could lift up its intellectual apex 
of minister, doctor, and banker, and make them 
comparatively rich men, and give them all the 
show of luxury and culture which would have 
been the lot of white men in similar positions. 
So the broad base of slavery grows to be a pyra- 
mid of freedom. 

Dr. E was a shrewd, capable, little human 

mountain. He said, "I think the time has come 
for the Negro to amass wealth; it's the only 
thing that counts in America." He thought the 
League of Nations might help the Negro if its 
representatives ever met at Washington. There 
would be Frenchmen and Englishmen and Ital- 
ians, and, being so near to the South, it would 
be a shame to America if lynchings took place 
while they were sitting. As it was, the Negro 
South was a sort of skeleton cupboard which 
must not be exposed. 

From him I learned first that the Negro had 
not access to the Carnegie libraries in the South. 
I was surprised. Up at Baltimore, in the North, 
I was talking to a librarian, and he averred 
that the Negroes used the public library much 
more than white people, and that there were so 
many darkies that Whites did not care to go. 
But I travel such a very short distance South, 
and I find no Negro admitted at all. 



44 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



"Surely that is contrary to the spirit of the 
Carnegie grants,' ' said I. 

"Yes, for Carnegie was a good friend to the 

Negro. But so it is," said Dr. R . "And 

I do not think Negroes should agitate about it. 
It would be better for Negroes to build their 
own libraries. We shall have to do so. But we 
don't want to intrude where we're not wanted." 

He told me what he considered the most thrill- 
ing moment of his life. He was out with a friend 
at midnight watching the posting of election re- 
sults, when suddenly a "lewd woman" came 
out of a house door, screaming and waving her 
arms. She made right for them, and they were 
in terror lest she should fall down at their feet 
or start reviling them. Fortunately, they had 
the presence of mind not to run away from her, 
or they might have been lynched by the crowd. 

The worthy doctor took us out and drove us 
all over the city, heartily apologizing that he 
could not ask me to have any meal with his 
wife and himself. "For, although you may have 
no prejudice, it would not be safe for either of 
us if it were known." Which was indeed so. 
Throughout the whole of the South it is impos- 
sible to eat or drink with a colored man or 
woman. 

My chief way of finding people to whom I 
had introductions was by reference to the city 
directory. Here I found that all colored people 
were marked with a star — as much as to say, 



IN VIRGINIA 



45 



" Watch out; this party 's colored." White 
women were indicated as "Mrs." or "Miss," 
but colored women always as plain "Sarah 
Jones" or "Betty Thompson," or whatever the 
name might be, without any prefix. This I dis- 
covered 'to be one of many small grievances of 
the Negro population, akin to that of not having 
their roads mended though they pay taxes, and 
being obliged to take back seats behind a straw 
screen in the trolley cars. 

It was a novel impression in the Negro church 
on Sunday morning. I came rather early, and 
found an adult Bible class discussing theology 
in groups. One man near me exclaimed, "It 
says 'He that believeth and is baptized shall 
be saved/ doesn't it, brother? Well, then, I be- 
lieve, so why argufy? I an't a-goin' to take no 
chances. No, sir, I an't a-goin' to do it" — a 
serene black child of forty years or so. 

In the full congregation were all types of 
Negroes. The men were undistinguished, but 
the women were very striking. One lady wore 
a gilded skirt and a broad-brimmed, black straw 
hat. Two Cleopatras sat in front of me — tall, 
elegant, graceful, expensively dressed as in 
Mayfair, one in chiffon, the other in soft gray 
satin, tiny gold chains about their necks, pearl 
earrings in their ears. They had smooth, fruit- 
like cheeks, curving outward to perfect bell 
mouths. When they sang they lifted their full, 
dusky throats like grand birds. They were 



46 THE SOUL OF JOHN BEOWN 



evidently of the elite of Norfolk. On the other 
hand, there were numbers of baggy and volu- 
minous ladies with enormous bosoms, almost 
visibly perspiring. They thronged and they 
thronged, and all the red-cushioned seats filled 
up. There were men of all types, from the per- 
fect West African Negro to the polished Ameri- 
can Arab, yellow men, brown men, lots with 
large tortoise-shell spectacles, all with close- 
cropped hair which showed the Eunic lines of 
their hard heads. Fans were provided for every 
worshipper, and noisy religious and family talk 
filled the whole chapel. 

We began with some fine singing — not deep 
and harmonious and complex as that of the Rus- 
sians, but hard, resonant, and breezy, followed 
by conventional prayers and the reading of the 
Scriptures. The pastor then sent someone to 
ask me if I would come forward and give them 
Christian greeting in a few words. I was much 
astonished, as I did not know one ever broke 
into the midst of Divine Service in that way. 
However, I came forward and confronted the 
strange sea of dusky, eager faces and the thou- 
sand waving paper fans, and I said: ' 1 Dear 
brothers and sisters, I am an Englishman and 
a white man, but before these I am a Christian. 
In Christ, as you know, there is neither white 
nor black, neither inferiority nor superiority of 
race, unless it is that sometimes the first shall 
be last and the last first. We know little about 



IN VIRGINIA 



47 



the American Negro in England, but I have 
come to find out. I have not been sent by any- 
body, but was just prompted by the Spirit to 
come out here and make your acquaintance, and 
so bring tidings home to England. I hope you 
will take that as an assurance of loving interest 
in you, and a promise for the future. I am glad 
to see you have made such progress since 
slavery days and have in Norfolk fine houses 
and churches and banks and a theatre and res- 
taurants and businesses, and that you have such 
a large measure of happiness and freedom. I 
believe you have great gifts to offer on the 
altar of American civilization, and so far from 
remaining a problem you will prove a treas- 
ure." And I told some touching words of my 
friend Hugh Chapman, of the chapel of the 
Savoy, in London: 1 ' Mankind is saved, not by 
a white man, or by a black, but by one who com- 
bines both — the little brown Man of Nazareth. M 
It was a strange sensation, that of facing the 
Negro congregation. I could find no touch, no 
point of contact, could indeed take nothing from 
them. The spiritual atmosphere was an entirely 
different one from that of a gathering of Whites. 
I should have been inclined to say that there 
was no spiritual atmosphere whatever. For me 
it was like speaking to an empty room and 
a vast collection of empty seats. But I know 
there was something there, though I could not 
realize it, 



48 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



After the service there came up to me a 
purely delightful creature, full of an almost 
dangerous ardor for what I had said. She was 
the leading spirit at the Liberty Club for col- 
ored soldiers and jack tars. In the afternoon 
I listened to some wonderful singing at another 
church. The little black organist woman sang 
at the top of her voice while she bent over the 
keys, and waved the spirit into her choir by 
eager movements with the back of her hand. 

1 1 Take me, shake me, don't let me sleep,' 9 
they sang, and it was infinitely worth while. 
I felt that in the great ultimate harmony we 
could not do without this voice, the voice of the 
praise of the dark children. 

Next week I went over to Newport News. 
On a wall in Norfolk I read: "T. Adkins, New- 
port News," and underneath someone had writ- 
ten, "You could not pay me to live there: 
Robert Johnson, Norfolk." 

That might possibly explain the relativity of 
the two places. Newport News is a ramshackle 
settlement on the sands across the water from 
Norfolk. It has a nondescript, ill-dressed, well- 
paid, wild, working-class population, with all 
manner of cheap shops and low lodging houses. 
On every fifth window seems to be scrawled in 
whitewash, "HOT DOG 5 cents." It was ex- 
plained to me that this is sausage of a rather 
poor quality. I had never seen the article so 
frankly named elsewhere, For the rest, a good 



IN VIRGINIA 



49 



deal of manifest immorality strolls the streets 
at night or is voiced on dark verandas. The 
police station is a place of considerable mystery 
and glamour, and I should say Newport News at 
this season would have proved an interesting 
research for the vice raker. I paid three dollars 
for a room whose lock had been burst off, and 
one of whose windows was broken, a mosquito- 
infested hovel, but the only room obtainable. 

A very interesting young colored trainer took 
me over the shipbuilding yards the next day. 
He was an enthusiastic boxer, and I asked him 
the cause of Negro excellence in this sport. For 
there are at least three Negro boxers whom no 
white boxers have been able to beat, and this 
excellence has caused the championship rules to 
be altered so as to disqualify colored cham- 
pions. 

He said it was due to quicker eye and greater 
aggressiveness, above all to greater aggressive- 
ness. The Negro is a born fighter. It is true he 
has greater endurance and a much harder skull, 
but he has also remarkable aptitude. 

"Has the Negro boxer more science?" I 
asked. 

"No, perhaps not so much. He has fighting 
blood, that's what it is. His ancestors fought 
for thousands of years." 

I remarked that the red Indians fought also, 
but they were poor boxers. He put that down 
to slight physique, 



50 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



"I got tired of watching boxing matches in 
the army," said L "The bulkier and more 
brutal types always seemed to get the better 
of those who were merely skillful. I expect that 
is why we don't like watching a Xegro and a 
white man boxing, it is too much a triumph of 
body over niind." 

"There's no finer sight than to watch two 
Negroes well matched," said the trainer, with 
a smile. 

I thought good boxing showed more the ani- 
mal side of a man, and I recalled a reported 
saying of Jack Johnson — "I'se ready to fight 
mos' any man that they is, an' if ye calm find 
any man. why, just send me down a great big 
black Eussian bear ..." 

"It jarred the white folk terrible bad that 
Jack Johnson was the real champion of the 
world," said the trainer. "When the news came 
through of Jack Johnson beating Jeffries so far 
away as Denver, Colorado, the white folk began 
pulling the Negroes off the street cars in Nor- 
folk, Virginia, and beating them, just to vent 
their rage, they were so sore." 

I thought that rather amusing, but the trainer 
took a gloomy view. However, in we went to 
the shipbuilding yard and looked at many great 
vessels in dry dock. Out came a motley crowd of 
men, blacker than their nature through the dirt 
of their work. The ship painters were splashed 
from head to foot with the characteristic red 



IN VIRGINIA 



51 



paint of ships, and looked like some new tribe ; 
the blue-shirted rivetters and chippers were all 
frayed and ragged from contact with sharp 
edges and iron. These Negro workers were very 
happy and jolly. They seemed nearly all to be 
on piecework and earned in most cases ten 
dollars a day, and in some exceptional cases 
and upon occasion twenty or twenty-five dollars. 
The rivetters, according to the scale of pay, 
seemed to be capable of earning huge wages, 
and many of them were comparatively well off, 
possessing their homes, and giving their chil- 
dren a good education. The trainer pointed out 
to me his athletic pets. He was employed by the 
company to organize competitions and races 
and baseball teams and the like. The strongest 
Negroes seemed among the gentlest. The heavy- 
weight champion was a large and beautiful 
child. He never lost his temper in the ring, be- 
cause, as I was told, he never needed to. His 
ears were not turned to 1 1 cauliflower' 9 and his 
nose was not flattened out — as yet. 

The lunch hour was remarkable for the 
swarms of men belched forth by the works. A 
twenty-cent lunch was ready for all. Wives and 
mothers also were allowed to come and bring 
food to supplement what was served at the 
stands. Lunch over, the men formed into 
groups, and in some places there were Bible 
discussions, in others sporting competitions. 
Despite high wages, I noticed some Negroes 



52 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



going about picking up crusts and putting them 
into paper bags, presumably to feed the chick- 
ens with when they got home. My guide said 
this was due to the "Save" propaganda which 
had been carried on. Y. M. C. A. work was very 
much to the fore, an industrial "Y" having 
been financed by the owners of the yard. I was 
told that a little while ago the company found 
It difficult to keep the young Negro boys — the 
heaters and passers, on whose work the rivetter 
depends, for one boy heats the rivet and another 
passes it, and the rivetter strikes it home. They 
found so little in the place to interest them that 
they drifted away from the works. It was this 
that had determined the firm to embark on a 
program of physical culture and games. There 
was also a Y. M. C. A. hut and its usual appurte- 
nances. A long list of evening classes was being 
arranged. A large building had been promised 
to the "Y" if it made good. 

I could not find any man who belonged to a 
genuine trade-union affiliated to the American 
Federation of Labor, though most belonged to 
"Colored People's Brotherhoods." The Whites 
with whom they worked, and with whom they 
have upon occasion great rivetting competitions, 
were presumably non-union also, but that is 
common ; labor in America is poorly organized, 
compared with labor in Great Britain. Almost 
the whole of Negro labor is at present outside 
the recognized unions, and for that reason can 



IN VIRGINIA 



53 



almost always be used to break strikes. This is, 
of course, unfortunate for the Negro, who is 
thus branded as a 1 ' blackleg' 9 in addition to 
being black by nature, which was reproach 
enough. 

I met a strange character in the evening, 
one of the colored organizers, a friend of 
the white men, and in with the bosses of 
the yards. He was possibly a descendant 
of the type of Negro who in slavery days 
acted as agent for the slave merchants, and 
was to be found on the "West African 
shore lording it over the batches of poor 
savages who with hands tied up were being 
hustled on to the slave ships. It used to be a 
recognizable type. When they themselves were 
brought over to America they became overseers 
or field drivers, and brutal enough they were 
to their fellow men of color. To-day they are 
foremen or speeders up of Negro gangs, or you 
find them under the auspices of "Welfare." 

This was a lazy Negro, fat and heavy, with a 
confused non-thinking mind, great sooty lips, 
and bloodshot eyes. He told me he put on a 
wig at night and prowled about the town, spy- 
ing on vice. The great numbers of black sol- 
diers embarking or disembarking had attracted 
sharps and bad women of all kinds. The streets 
were infested with sin, and he knew which 
boarding houses were disreputable and which 
were properly kept. He knew where there was 



54 THE SOUL OF JOHN BBOWN 



drink, and who was organizing the "bootleg- 
ging" business, and what graft the police took. 
Though sluggish by nature, this gloomy soul 
evidently got full of life at night — spying on the 
people. 

He told me the richest colored man in New- 
port News was a dentist who charged as much 
as six dollars an hour for stopping teeth. The 
example of this dentist's success had caused 
several fathers to educate their children for 
dentistry rather than the Church or the Law. 
"But we Negroes don't want to rise," said he. 
"We want to show off. We are great imitators 
of swagger. They'll come wearing a forty-dol- 
lar suit and a clean collar, and brandish a cigar 
in your face when that is all they have in the 
world. We're a crude people, sir." 

There was on the one hand in Newport News 
a nucleus of prosperous Negro families, and on 
the other hand the many gambling places and 
daneing dens where health and ambition and 
money, and everything else which can help a 
man to rise could be squandered. In time to 
come, when society takes root, Newport News 
should become a Negro stronghold. Already 
there are so many Negroes no white man dare 
start a riot. 

Not far from Newport News is Hampton In- 
stitute, the "Negro Eton," which produces the 
Curzons and the Cecils of the colored race, as 
someone amusingly expressed it. It is the crown 



IN VIRGINIA 



55 



of Northern effort to educate the Negro. En- 
dowment and instruction are mostly by Whites. 
Everyone is engaged in vital self-support, and 
the students plough the fields, make boots, build 
wagons, print books, and learn all manner of 
practical lessons in life. Above all, they are 
made ready to teach and help others of their 
race. It is the show place of the Negro world, 
and rightly so, as most of those who lead Negro- 
dom hail as yet from Hampton. 

I did not myself visit Hampton, because it 
has been adequately described in books, and 
generally speaking I would rather study the 
Negro in his unperfumed haunts, where he is 
less disguised with Northern culture. Perhaps 
one learns more of the needs and requirements 
of the Negroes by visiting a poor school where 
the ordinary routine of teaching is going on. 
I visited a high school named after Booker T. 
Washington, and talked to the students in the 
classes. The young lady who took me to the 
head master wore a low-cut, white blouse from 
which her dainty neck and her head of kinky 
hair grew like a palm tree. She had dog's teeth 
for eardrops hanging from her ears, and large, 
kind, questioning eyes. The head master was a 
quiet young man from some Negro university, 
full of pent-up enthusiasm for his race and for 
learning. He had boundless enthusiasm for the 
Negro people and their possibilities. Was not 
the greatest French writer a colored man, and 



56 THE SOUL OF JOHN BEOWN 



the greatest Russian poet of Negro blood? "We 
■went into the composition class. They were 
doing "Argumentation," which is perhaps a 
trifle dull, but we discussed brevity and the 
principle of suspense. In the English class each 
child had read 1 1 Silas Marner" and was taking 
it in turn to re-tell the story when called upon 
by the teacher. This was pretty well done, 
though Americanisms were frequent, and the 
two brothers were said to be " disagreeable' ' 
when it was meant that they disagreed. In 
French the whole class was standing around the 
walls of the room, writing French sentences 
on the blackboards fitted into the panelling. 
French was very popular. Every child wanted 
to go to France by and by. In the Latin class 
we discussed the merits of Caesar, in the cookery 
class whether they ate what they cooked, in the 
needlework, invisible mending — when suddenly 
the fire bell sounded. Each class at once got up 
and filed out in orderly manner. In one minute 
the whole school of seven hundred black chil- 
dren was cleared. Then they marched back in 
twos, shoulder to shoulder, in fine style, to the 
rub-a-dub-dub of a kettledrum. It was a sur- 
prise alarm, called by a visiting fire inspector. 
None, even of the teachers, had known whether 
the alarm was real. 

The teachers here were all black, and pos- 
sessed of the greatest enthusiasm; the children 
presented some hopeless types, but they were 



IN VIRGINIA 57 

mostly very eager and intelligent. The methods 
of teaching seemed to be advanced, but there 
were many deficiencies, notably that of the 
chemistry class, where all the apparatus was 
in a tiny cupboard, and consisted of some bits 
of tubing, a few old test tubes, and some empty 
bottles. 

It was a grievance, and I thought a legitimate 
'one, that whereas the white schools were given 
good buildings with every latest convenience, 
less was thought good enough for the Negro 
children. Though white sympathizers with the 
ex-slave had been very generous in endowing 
Negro education, their good work was more than 
neutralized by the Southern local authorities, 
who held the point of view that education 
spoiled the " nigger.' 9 If it were not for the 
enthusiasm of the Negro teachers, who carry on 
in any circumstances, it might easily have hap- 
pened that the colored people had a whole series 
of well-endowed universities and colleges like 
Fisk and Hampton, but no elementary or sec- 
ondary school education worth the name. 

Lack of good will toward the Negro thus ex- 
presses itself in many ways; the failure to 
repair his roads, the failure to give him equal 
facilities for education and self-improvement, 
and his exclusion from the public libraries. The 
white man will not say " No 9 9 to grants of money 
which give him handsome Carnegie library 
buildings for nothing ox will raise universities, 



58 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



even Negro universities, but lie will not fulfill 
his part of the unwritten contract — and honor 
all philanthropy by indiscriminate good will. 

After visiting the school I saw glimpses of 
Negro women at work in characteristic places 
of earning a living. The management was 
always very sensitive about strangers being 
present, so it was possible to find out little about 
the conditions. One shop was full of girls sew- 
ing ready-cut trousers on machines run by elec- 
tricity. The trousers were cut in Baltimore and 
sent down here to be sewn cheaply by local col- 
ored labor. A Jew was in charge. A Negro 
woman was looking after the "welfare" of the 
girls. Another was a tobacco factory, where 
girls earned eleven dollars a week, working 
from 7 :30 a. m. to 5 :30 p. m., stripping tobacco 
leaf in airy and fragrant rooms. At piecework 
they earned from six cents a pound. 

I visited the publishing office of the Journal 
and Guide, where the Negroes not only edit a 
paper but manufacture their own type and do 
everything themselves — one of a hundred Negro 
newspapers published in the United States. 
The average number of spelling errors in many 
of these sheets seemed to be about three a para- 
graph, but that in no wise renders them ridicu- 
lous or deters the pen of the ready writers. 
Negroes have a passion for journalism which is 
out of proportion to their present development 
and capacity. 



IN VIRGINIA 



59 



As I came out of the publishing office with the 
editor we saw a hearse. It was drawn by a 
motor, and it was a new idea to me, that of being 
motored to one's grave. The editor made a 
sign and the hearse stopped. " Just a moment,' 9 
said he, and a lugubriously cloaked Ethiopian 
with large, shining teeth stepped down. 

' 1 This is Undertaker Brown," said the editor. 

"Always at yo' seyvice, sar," said the under- 
taker. "Is jo 9 thinking of taking a ride with 
me!" 

I said I was not meditating on that sad course 
yet. 

"It's a fine hearse," said Brown — "and look, 
they is steel clamps to keep the coffin steady (he 
swung open the rear doors) and speshal recep- 
pacles fo' the flowers." 

I thanked him, and we shook hands effu- 
sively. 

All the Negroes took charge of me. It was no 
difficult task to see their ways of life. It was 
impossible not to feel happy in the midst of 
their childish vivacity and enthusiasm and 
make-believe. Their grievances were almost 
lost sight of in the sunshine of prosperity in 

Eastern Virginia. Miss M told me how in 

the Eed Cross drives during the war she "led 
the cullud folk over the top" and the vividness 
of her story of Negro vying with Negro as to 
who should subscribe most money, and how she 
defied the white "crackers" to continue lynch- 



60 THE SOUL OF JOHN BEOTVX 



ing and persecuting them in the face of snch 
patriotism as they had shown was not only in- 
structive but extraordinarily amusing, and also 
touching; how a large audience of white people 
was listening to a combined " platform" of black 
and white orators, and Xegro choirs were sing- 
ing "spirituals" while the collection plates 

rolled round, and Miss M when she arrived 

at the hall was so dead-beat with rushing round 
the town all day that she fell in a faint and 
she prayed, "Lord, if I gain strength I'll take 
it for a sign that I am to speak." And she came 
to herself and went on to the platform and told 
the white folk straight — what she felt — how 
nine-tenths of her people could not spell the 
word Democracy and had indeed only just 
heard of it, and yet they sent their children to 
wounds and death, and they themselves sub- 
scribed their last dimes for patriotic causes. 
But what did America give in return? And at 
the end she overheard one of the worst "crack- 
ers" remark that he could not help admiring 
her, she was "so durned sincere." 

The last evening I spent in this corner of 
Virginia was at a resort of colored soldiers and 
sailors, and I had a talk with a boy who had 
held a commission in the Xinety-second Divi- 
sion, a black unit which had covered itself with 
glory in France. He was a lieutenant, and was 
at the taking of St. Mihiel. The Xegro marines 
were also very interesting — eager, serious, and 



IN VIRGINIA 



61 



sober fellows. They were proud of being in 
Uncle Sam's navy, but wanted a chance of 
advancement there, did not wish to remain 
twenty years in the same grade, but hoped des- 
perately for a gold stripe in time, and the chance 
to become petty officer. Soldiers and sailors 
surged in and out of the hall, smoked cigarettes, 
drank soda, and chatted. I heard no foul talk, 
and I took much pleasure in their appearance. 
I felt what a fine body of guardians of their 
country could be made of them if once prejudice 
were finally overcome. In this part of Eastern 
Virginia, the apex of the South, the new black 
world seemed very promising and had gone far 
in its fifty-seven years of freedom. 

The way from Norfolk to Eichmond is up the 
James Eiver, and I continued my journey on a 
boat that had evidently come from New York — 
redolent as it was of long-distance passengers. 
There was a seat, however, just under the cap- 
tain's lookout, and there was nothing before me 
but the progressing prow and the silver expanse 
of the river. A classical voyage this — for it was 
up the James Eiver, named after James the 
First, that the first pioneers of Ealeigh's vir- 
gin land made their way. It is felt to be ro- 
mantic, because they were not Soundheads nor 
Quakers nor Plymouth Brethren nor other 
sober-liveried folk, but gentlemen of sword and 
ruff, courtier-sailors who upon occasion would 
be ready to throw their cloaks in the mud for a 



62 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



Queen to tread upon. The tradition of courtier 
survives, and a rich man of Virginia is to-day 
a Virginian gentleman, though there is scarcely 
another State in America where the landed pro- 
prietors claim to be gentry. The James Elver is 
significant for another reason. At little James- 
town, which never came to anything as a city, 
the first Negro slaves were landed in America in 
1618, and from the small beginning of one ship- 
load three hundred years ago nation-wide 
Negrodom, with all its black millions, has arisen. 

Virginia grew prosperous in the cultivation 
of tobacco, which remains to-day the staple pro- 
duction of a comparatively poor State. It is too 
far north for the cultivation of cotton, and 
though doubtless possessing great mineral 
wealth, industrial research has not gone so far 
as in Pennsylvania. It is essentially a conserva- 
tive State. Slavery is said to have depressed its 
economic life so that neighboring Northern 
States, whose development began much later, 
easily overtook it. A somewhat patriarchal set- 
tled state of life took possession of Virginia, a 
new feudalism which was out of keeping with 
hustling and radical America. It is remarkable, 
however, how many lawmakers, administrators, 
soldiers, and Presidents Virginia has given to 
the United States. Starting with gentry, it has 
bred gentry. 

And with regard to the Negro, the State has 



IN VIRGINIA 



63 



a good record. Despite the various inequalities 
of treatment and Jim-Crowism noticeable by 
anyone who is observant, there is little or no 
brutality or nigger-baiting. Lynching is rare, 
and it must be supposed the alleged Negro at* 
tacks upon white women must be rare also. 
Such relatively good conditions prevail in Vir- 
ginia that the whole South takes shelter behind 
her. And as the proud Virginian reckons him- 
self par excellence the Southerner, he is often 
annoyed when he reads of the worse treatment 
of the Negroes further south. Virginia should 
remember she is not the whole South, and she 
does not exert even a moral influence upon 
Georgia and Mississippi. In that respect she 
seems to be as helpless as New England and 
the Puritans, to whom politically she has gener- 
ally been in opposition. 

The old Virginian families bound the Negroes 
to them with undying devotion. They became 
part of the family, with all the license of pet 
children. They fought for them and assisted 
them in the Civil War with the creature-like 
devotion of clansmen for their chief. The 
" veterans 97 who still survive, Negroes like Eob- 
ert E. Lee's cook, who was one of many pic- 
turesque personalities at the Atlanta reunion, 
are of a different type from the Negroes of to- 
day. They identified themselves with their mas- 
ter and mistress's estate and person in a way 



64 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



that is truly touching. Surely of all beings the 
Negro is capable of the strongest and most 
pathetic human attachments. 

Freedom, however, and the new ideas blew 
autumnly over the Virginian summer. All 
changed. The family retinues broke up. The 
affections were alienated. The new race of 
Negro individualists arose. The old ' 6 mammies 9 ' 
and "uncles" were a people apart, and are 
dying out fast now. The new Negroes are with 
and for themselves. They make shift to be 
happy and to amuse themselves without the 
white man. And they have now their schools, 
their churches which are like religious clubs, 
their political societies, theatres, and other 
segregated interests. 

These segregated interests Have produced 
and tend to produce an ever-increasing Negro 
culture, and though that culture may be some- 
what despised because of its humble beginnings, 
there seems no reason why it should not have a 
future which will compare with that of white 
America. But south of Eichmond and south of 
Virginia there is progressively less of this 
Negro culture to be found. There are the oases 
of Tuskegee Institute and Atlanta and Fisk 
Universities, but white opinion is adverse to 
Negro education, and the black masses have 
been unable to over-crow their neighbors. In 
Eichmond and north of it, however^ the black 



IX VIRGINIA 



65 



man has leave to breathe awhile, and there are 
interesting developments. 

Bichniond, which in 1853 reminded Olmsted 
of Edinburgh in its picturesqueness, has now 
quintupled its population, and spread greatly. 
It is still a handsome city, and its center of 
Grecian Capitol and public gardens is very 
pleasant. It is the third blackest city in the 
United States, between thirty-five and forty per 
cent of its population being colored. A certain 
General Gabriel led an insurrection of Negro 
slaves against Bichniond in 1801, and the city 
has always adopted itself as self-constituted 
warden of the white man's safety. The city has, 
however, been free enough from disturbance 
since the Civil "War. It has its well-endowed 
Negro colleges, and on the other hand its less 
satisfactorily placed elementary and secondary 
schools. As in Norfolk, Negro business is thriv- 
ing, though it has deeper roots. 

It is less promising west of Bichmond. A 
duller economic life prevails, and conditions are 
more normal, less affected by the prosperity of 
war industrialism. I traveled by train to Lynch- 
burg. As this was my first experience of trains 
south of the Mason-Dixon line, I was interested 
to observe the Jim Crow arrangements. The 
Negroes are kept to separate waiting rooms, and 
book their tickets at other booking windows, 
and they are put into separate carriages in the 



66 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



trains, and not allowed promiscuously with, 
white people, as in the North They have not 
quite so good accommodation, though they pay 
the same fare; sometimes there is less space, 
sometimes there is no separate smoking com- 
partment. Drawing-room cars and "sleepers" 
are generally unavailable. Colored people con- 
sider it a great grievance, but it is probably the 
insult implied in their segregation that affects 
them most. There is not an enormous disparity 
in the comfort. Inability to obtain food on long- 
distance trains was often mentioned to me as 
the chief injustice, but the personal aspect of 
the matter was always to the fore: 6 4 We don't 
want to mix in with white people, or with those 
who don't want us. We can get on very well 
by ourselves . . . " they were always 
protesting. 

In the North, promiscuously seated black and 
white passengers all seem quite happy and at 
ease. Mixing them works well. There is never 
any hitch. In the South, however, segregation 
seems to be for the Negro's good. The less 
personal contact he has with the white man the 
safer he is from sudden outbursts of racial feel- 
ing. Of course, the railway companies ought to 
give the Negro equal accommodation for equal 
fare, but that is another matter. 

Lynchburg is a beautifully situated little city 
beside the Blue Bidge Mountains. It is a great 
market for dark tobacco. It manufactures iron 



IN VIEGINIA 



67 



pipes, ploughs, boots and shoes, and a number 
of other articles, and boasts of " ideal labor con- 
ditions and no strikes." It is named after the 
original planter, Charles Lynch, an Irish boy, 
who ran from home and married a Quaker. It 
lapsed from Quakerism to a very sinful state, 
and then is said to have been reformed by the 
Methodists. Now there is nothing to trouble the 
mind unpleasantly at Lynchburg. 

The public library seemed to have paused 
sick in 1905. It is called the Jones Memorial 
Library, an impressive white building with an 
array of white steps leading up to it. Jones 
himself, who was a business man and served a 
very short while in the war of North and South, 
is shown in full martial attire drawing his 
sword, halfway up the stone steps — as it were 
in act of driving readers away. A cold cloister- 
like air pervaded the building. Negroes were 
not permitted in, and white people did not enter 
much. The librarian, however, was unusually 
kind and obliging, and lent me a book without 
taking a deposit. This lady said she would 
rather sit next to a decent black woman in a 
train than to the average White. 

"We all had our black mammies — they 
treated us as if we were their own babies. Can 
you blame us if sometimes we love them as our 
own flesh and blood? All the trouble we have is 
due to Northerners coming South. And if a 
Negro gets lynched, what a fuss is made of it!" 



68 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



I met the manager of a tobacco warehouse. 
He was not willing that I should see his Negroes 
at work and talk to them, but he assured me 
in a bland way, cigar in hand, that his pickers 
were a jolly crowd who knew they were well 
paid and would never go on strike. He paid 
thirty to thirty-five cents the hour for Negro 
labor. 

"The war has played the devil with the nig- 
gers,' 1 said he. "It has spread about the idea 
of high wages. The North has been especially 
to blame, luring the niggers up there with the 
bait of big money. It has caused a rise in wages 
all over the South." 

His employees were unskilled. In his opinion 
no Negroes were ever used for skilled work. 
What I had to tell him of Newport News and 
its shipyards was beyond his comprehension. 
As for Hampton Institute, he averred that he 
had never heard that it produced capable 
artisans. In his opinion there had been some 
good Negro carpenters and wheelwrights in 
slavery, but none since. Freedom had been very 
bad for the Negro. Yes, he utterly approved 
of lynching. It was always justified, and mis- 
takes were never made. He had a water-tight 
mind. 

A mile or so away was Virginia College, a 
red-brick structure in the woods, where in 
happy seclusion a few hundred colored men and 
women were beiag enfranchised of civilization 



IN VIRGINIA 



69 



and culture. A student took me to his study- 
bedroom, hung with portraits of John Brown 
and Booker T. Washington. The Bible was still 
the most important book, and it occupied the 
pride of place, though it was interleaved with 
pages of the Negro radical monthly, The 
Crisis. The student was an intense and earnest 
boy with all The extra seriousness of persecuted 
race consciousness. He said, in a low voice, that 
he would do anything at any cost for his people. 
He said the present leaders of the Negro world 
would fail, because of narrow outlook, but the 
next leaders would win great victories for color. 
And he would be ready to follow the new lead- 
ers. What a contrast they were! — the boss of 
the tobacco factory, cigar in hand, "talking 
wise" on the nigger, and the quiet Negro intel- 
lectual in his college, whetting daily the sword 
of learning and ambition. 



Ill 



ORATORS AND ACTORS, PREACHERS 
AND SINGERS 

The aspirations and convictions of the Negroes 
of to-day were well voiced in a speech I heard 
at Harlem. I had been warned that I ought to 
hear the " red-hot orator of the Afro-American 
race," and so I went to hear him. The orator 
was Dean Pickens, of Morgan College, Balti- 
more. When he came to the platform the col- 
ored audience not only cheered him by clapping, 
but stood up and cried aloud three times : 
"Yea, Pickens!" 

The chairman had said he would have to leave 
about half after five, but the speaker must not 
allow himself to be disturbed by that, but go 
right on. Pickens, who was one of the very black 
and very cheerful types of his race, turned to 
the chairman and said: 

"You won't disturb me, brother! But if 
you're going at half after five, let's shake hands 
right now, and then I can go straight ahead." 

And they shook hands with great gusto, and 
everyone laughed and felt at ease. Pickens was 
going to speak; nothing could disturb Pickens; 

70 



ORATORS, PREACHERS, SINGERS 71 

they relaxed themselves to a joyful, anticipatory 
calm. 

Just before the turn of Pickens to speak a 
white lady journalist had rushed on to the plat- 
form and rushed off between two pressing 
engagements, and had given the audience a 
"heart-to-heart" talk on Bolsheviks and agi- 
tators, and had told them how thankful they 
ought to be that they were in America and not 
in the Congo still. She gained a good deal of 
applause because she was a woman, and a White, 
and was glib, but the thinking Negroes did not 
care for her doctrine, and were sorry she could 
not wait to hear it debated. 

"Brothers, they're always telling us what we 
ought to be, ' ' said the orator, with an engaging 
smile. "But there are many different opinions 
about what ought to be; it's what we are that 
matters. As a colored pastor said to his flock 
one day — 'Brothers and sisters, it's not the 
oughtness of this problem that we have to con- 
sider, but the isness!' I am going to speak about 

the isness. Sister S , who has just spoken, 

has had to go to make a hurry call elsewhere, 
but I am sorry she could not stay. I think she 
might perhaps have heard something worth 

while this afternoon. Sister S warned us 

against agitators and radicals. Now, I am not 
against or for agitators. The question is: 
'What are they agitating about?' 'Show me the 
agitator/ I say, President Wilson is a great 



72 



THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



agitator; he is agitating a League of Nations. 
Jesus Christ was a great agitator; He agitated 
Christianity. The Pharisees and Sadducees 
didn't like His agitating, and they fixed Him. 
But He was a good agitator, and we're not 
against Him. Then, again, the Irish are great 
agitators; the Jews are great agitators; there 
are good and bad agitators. (Applause.) But, 
brothers, I'll tell you who is the greatest agi- 
tator in this country . . . the greatest agitator 
is injustice. (Sensatioyi.) "When injustice dis- 
appears, I'll be against agitators, or I'll be 
ready to see them put in a lunatic asylum. (Ap- 
plause.) 

"Sister S was very hard on the radicals. 

There, again, show me the radical, I say. A 
man may be radically wrong, yes, but he may 
also be radically right. (Laughter.) 

"As for the Bolsheviks, it's injustice is mak- 
ing Bolshevism. It's injustice that changes 
quiet, inoffensive school teachers and working- 
men into Bolsheviks, just as it is injustice is 
stirring up the colored people. Not that we 
are Bolsheviks. I am not going to say anything 
against Bolsheviks, either. Show me the Bol- 
shevik first, I say, and then I'll know whether 
I'm against him. People are alarmed because 
the number of Bolsheviks is increasing. But 
what is making them increase? If America is 
such a blessed country, why is she making all 
these Bolsheviks? You know a tree by its fruits, 



ORATORS, PREACHERS, SIXGERS 73 



and so you may know a country by what it pro- 
duces. These Bolsheviks that we read of being 
deported in the Soviet Ark weren't Bolshevik 
when they came to this country. It comes to 
this: that we've raised a crop of Bolshevism 
in this country and are exporting it to Europe, 
and now we're busy sowing another crop. Stop 
sowing injustice, and Bolshevism will cease 
growing. (Applause again.) 

"But there is less Bolshevism among the col- 
ored people than among the white, because the 
colored are more humble, more subservient, 
more used to inequalities. We are always being 
told that we are backward, and we believe it; 
bad, and we believe it; untrustworthy, and we 
believe it ; immoral, and we believe it. We are 
always being told what we ought to be. But 
I'll come back to what we are. 

1 1 We may be immoral ; we may be a danger to 
the white women. But has anyone ever honestly 
compared the morality of Whites and Blacks? 
They will tell you there is not sufficient evidence 
to make a comparison, or they will bring you 
pamphlets and paragraphs out of newspapers, 
records of disgusting crimes ; and we know very 
well that in twelve million Xegroes there are 
bound to be some half-wits and criminals capa- 
ble of terrible breaches of morality. But at best 
it is a paper evidence against the Negro, while 
there is flesh-and-blood evidence against the 
White. The moral standard of the Whites is 



74 THE SOUL OF JOHN BBOWN 



written visibly in the flesh and blood of three 
million of our race. (Another sensation.) Broth- 
ers, there's one standard for the white man, 
and another for the colored man. (Sensation 
redoubled.) A colored man's actions are not 
judged in the same light as those of a white 
man. 

i 6 Well, I'm not against that. It is giving us 
a higher ideal. A colored man has got to be 
much more careful in this country than a white 
man. He'll be more heavily punished for the 
same crime. If he gets into a dispute with a 
white man he's bound to lose his case. So he 
won't get into the dispute. (Laughter.) Where 
a white man gets five years' imprisonment, the 
Negro gets put in the electric chair. Where the 
white man gets six days, he gets two years. 
If a white man seduces a colored girl, she never 
gets redress. If the other thing occurs, the 
Negro is legally executed, or lynched. What is 
the result of all that inequality? Why, it is 
making us a more moral, less criminal, less vio- 
lent people than the Whites. Once at a mixed 
school they were teaching the black and white 
boys to jump. The white boys jumped and the 
black boys jumped. But when it was the black 
boy's turn the teacher always lifted the jump- 
ing stick a few inches. What was the conse- 
quence? Why, after a while every colored boy 
in that school could jump at least a foot higher 
than any white boy. (Renewed sensation, in 



ORATORS, PREACHERS, SINGERS 75 



which Pickens attempted several times to 
resume.) 

6 1 That is what is happening to the Negro 
race in America. We are being taught to jump 
a foot higher than the Whites. We will jump it, 
or we will break our necks. (Laughter.) 

"Of course a great difference separates the 
Black from the White still. And I don't say that 
the white man hasn't given us a chance. If our 
positions had been transposed, and we had been 
masters and the white folks had been the slaves, 
I 'm not sure that we wouldn 't have treated them 
worse than they have treated us. But the white 
folk make a mistake when they think we're not 
taking the chances they give us. We are taking 
them. We are covering the ground that sepa- 
rates Black from White. The white man is not 
outstripping us in the race. We are nearer to 
Mm than we were — not farther away. We 
haven't caught up, but we're touching. We are 
always doing things we never did before. (Ap- 
plause.) 

"We shall not have cause to regret the time 
of persecution and injustice and the higher 
standard of morality that has been set us. 
Brothers, it's all worth while. Our boys here 
have been to France and bled and suffered for 
white civilization and white justice. We didn't 
want to go. We didn't know anything about it. 
But it's been good for us. We've made the 
cause of universal justice our cause. We have 



76 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



taken a share in world sufferings and world 
politics. It's going to help raise us out of our 
obscurity. We have discovered the French, and 
shall always be grateful to them. We didn't 
know France before, but every colored soldier 
Is glad now that he fought for France. If there 
Is to be a League of Nations, we know France 
will stand by us. And we shall have a share in 
the councils of Humanity — with our colored 
brethren in all parts of the world.' ' (Sensation 
again.) 

The orator spoke for two hours, and the above 
Is only a personal remembrance put down after- 
wards. His actual speech is therefore much 
shortened. But that was the sense and the 
flavor of it. It was given in a voice of humor 
and challenge, resonant, and yet everlastingly 
whimsical. Laughter rippled the whole time. 
I shook hands with him afterwards ; for he was 
warm and eloquent and moving as few speakers 
I have heard. He was utterly exhausted, for 
he had drawn his words from his audience, and 
two thousand people had been pulling at his 
spirit for two hours. 

It was delightful to listen to a race propa- 
gandist so devoid of hatred, malice, and unchar- 
itableness. Some regard humor as the greatest 
concomitant of wisdom, and this representative 
Negro certainly had both. He never touched on 
the tragedy of race hatred and racial injustice, 
but he saw the humor of them also, And the 



ORATORS, PREACHEKS, SINGERS 77 



colored audience saw the humor also. With the 
English there would have been anger, with the 
French spontaneous insurrection, with the Jews 
gnashing of teeth, but with the Negroes it was 
humor. There was no collective hate or spite, 
but, manifest always, a desire to be happy, even 
in the worst circumstances. 

It is curious, however, that the Negro has a 
livelier sense of the humor of tragedy than the 
white man. For two months I visited a Negro 
theatre every week, and I was much struck by 
the fact that where there was most cause to 
weep or feel melancholy, the colored audience 
was most provoked to mirth. Negro companies, 
such as the Lafayette Players, play "Broadway 
successes," melodramas, classical dramas, mu- 
sical comedies, and indeed anything that would 
be staged in a white man's theatre. But the 
result is nearly always comedy. As upon occa- 
sion white men burn cork and make up as 
Negroes, so the Negroes paint themselves white 
and make up as white men and women. "Watch- 
ing them is an entrancing study, because there 
is not only the original drama and its interest, 
but superadded the interpretation by Africans 
of what they think the white man is and does 
and says. Some of it is like the servants' hall 
dressed up as master and mistress and their 
friends, but has remarkable felicity in acting. 
A large party, all in full evening dress, is very 
striking — only the Negro women are on the aver- 



78 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



age so huge that when painted white and expos- 
ing vast fronts of bosoms, they are somewhat 
incredible. A typical evening party on the 
stage, with villain and hero, looks very hand- 
gome, but not in any way Anglo-Saxon, if con- 
ceivably foreign American. The hero may have 
a perfectly villainous expression. One's mind is 
taken away from America to the Mediterra- 
nean. Even when painted, it is impossible to 
look other than children of the sun. The drama 
is played with a great deal of noise. When the 
moments of passion arrive, everyone lets him- 
self go, and the stage is swallowed up in a hurly- 
burly of violent word and action. There is never 
any difficulty in hearing what is being said. But 
even the minor characters, such as butler and 
waiter, who should be practically mute, insist 
on whistling and singing as they go about, and 
serve the guests in a pas de danse. In one seri- 
ous melodrama the butler never appeared 
but he hummed resonantly the popular air: 
"Yafcky, Yekky, Yikky, Yokky Doola." The 
villain or villainess is likely to act the part 
with great verve, and generally I remarked a 
true aptitude for acting, an ability which noise 
and violence could not hide. A white drama is 
literally transformed on the Xegro stage. The 
Xegroes catch hold of any childishness or piece 
of make-believe and give it a sort of poetry. 
Thus, for instance, Miss Elenor Porter's 
"Polyanna," with its gospel of "Be glad/' is 



ORATORS, PREACHERS, SINGERS 79 



a cloying sentimentalism in the hands of the 
ordinary white company. But the Negroes make 
it into a sort of ' ' Alice in Wonderland/' very 
amusing, very sweet, and very touching — some- 
thing entirely delightful. The consciousness of 
the white person sitting in the colored theater 
is, however, continually disturbed by ripples of 
tittering whenever on the stage there is a sug- 
gestion of calamity. When it is melodrama that 
is being played, the audience laughs all the time 
like a collection of intellectuals who have visited 
a popular theatre to watch 4 6 The Silver King" 
or 6 ' The Girl's Crossroads." The very sug- 
gestion of disaster is funny. 

This is an indication of difference in soul. 
There are many who would see in these white- 
painted Negroes another instance of a passion 
for the imitation of white people. But one could 
hardly point to anything that shows more 
readily the sheer difference of black and white 
people than the Negro stage such as it is to-day. 

There is not as yet a Negro drama, but it cer- 
tainly will arise. Ridgely Torrence's "Plays 
for a Negro Theatre" is perhaps the nearest 
approach so far to a genuine Negro drama, but 
the author is white. The great success of these 
plays when acted by Negroes only shows the 
glory that awaits the awakening of a true Negro 
dramatist. Every large city in America has its 
Negro theatre or music hall or cinema shows. 
The drama could become an organ of racial self- 



80 THE SOUL OF JOHN BEOWN 



expression, and could give voice to the hopes 
and aspirations and sorrows of the colored 
people in a very moving way. I think such a 
drama would prove highly original. Comedy 
would be conceived in a different spirit. So far 
would be conceived in a different spirit. So far 
from the Negro imitating the white man, we 
should all be found imitating him — as we 
already imitate him in our dances and music. 
The new Negro humor would infect the whole 
[Western world. 

It is generally called "the blues." We say 
we have a fit of the blues when we are feeling 
depressed. It is not at all a laughing matter, 
but the Negro finds that state of mind to be 
always humorous. A hundred new comic songs 
tell the humor of sorrows. All the gloomy for- 
mulas of everyday life have been set to music. 
Telling one's hard fortune and howling over it 
and drawing it out and infinitely bewailing it, 
and adding circumstantial minor sorrows as 
one goes along and infinitely bewailing them — 
this is distinctively Negro humor. 

I visited one evening a Negro theatre where a 
musical comedy was going on — words and music 
both by Negroes. It opened with the usual sing- 
ing and dancing chorus of Negro girls. They 
were clad in yellow and crimson and mauve 
combinations with white tapes on one side from 
the lace edge of the knicker to their dusky arms. 
They danced from the thigh rather than from 



ORATORS, PREACHERS, SINGERS 81 



the knee, moving waist and bosom in unre- 
strained undulation, girls with large, startled 
seeming eyes and uncontrollable masses of dark 
hair. A dance of physical joy and abandon, with 
no restraint in the toes or the knees, no veiling 
of the eyes, no half shutting of the lips, no hold- 
ing in of the hair. Accustomed to the very 
aesthetic presentment of the Bacchanalia in the 
Russian Ballet, it might be difficult to call one of 
those Negro dancers a Bacchante, and yet there 
was one whom I remarked again and again, a 
Queen of Sheba in her looks, a face like starry 
night, and she was clad slightly in mauve, and 
went into such ecstasies during the many en- 
cores that her hair fell down about her bare 
shoulders, and her cheeks and knees, glistening 
with perspiration, outshone her eyes. Follow- 
ing this chorus a love story begins to be devel- 
oped — a humorous mother-in-law of tremendous 
proportions and deep bass voice, her black face 
blackened further to the color of boots, repri- 
mands and pets her scapegrace son, who is the 
comic loafer. He confers with his ' * buddy' ' as 
to how to win "Baby," the belle of Dark City. 
The "buddy" is the lugubriously stupid and 
faithful and above all comic Negro friend who 
in trying to help you always does you an ill 
turn. "Baby" is the beautiful doll of the piece 
— "Honey baby, sugar baby!" She is courted 
also by the villain, who is plausible and well 
dressed and polite, but still provocative of 



82 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



mirth. The hero and the villain do a competitive 
cake walk for the girl, posturizing, showing off, 
approaching and retiring, almost squatting and 
dancing, leaping and dancing, swimming 
through the air, throwing everything away from 
them and falling forward, and yet never fall- 
ing, blowing out their cheeks and dilating their 
eyes, and, as it were, hoo-dooing and out-hoo- 
dooing one another, pseudo-enragement, mon- 
key-mocking of one another, feigned stage- 
fright and pretended escapes. Seeing this done 
on a first night, the whole theatre was jammed 
and packed with Negro people, and they recalled 
the couple nine times, and still they gave en- 
cores. One of them, the villain, gave up, but the 
other, the hero, went on as if still matched, 
his mouth open and panting, and perspiration 
streaming through the black grease on his face 
— for he also had blackened himself further for 
fun. The wedding service was danced and sung 
in a "scena" which would have enravished even 
a Eussian audience. I had seen nothing so 
pretty or so amusing, so bewilderingly full of 
life and color, since Sanine's production of the 
"Fair of Sorochinsky," in Moscow. 

The most characteristic parts of the comedy, 
however, were to come. It was very lengthy, 
for Negroes do not observe white conventions 
regarding time. . It would be tedious to describe 
in words what was wholly delightful to see. But 
there were two crises when the audience roared 



ORATORS, PREACHERS, SINGERS 83 

with joy excessively. First, when the young 
husband suspects his wife of flirting with the 
villain, and second, when he wants to make it up 
and every imaginable calamity descends upon 
his head. He arrives at his home about mid- 
night, wearing a terribly tight pair of boots and 
a suit of old, dusty clothes. There is a party at 
the house; everyone is in evening dress. He 
won't go in to the dance room. He has to sit 
down and take his boots off, and henceforth 
walks about holding them in his hands. He sees 
his wife dancing with the villain, makes a scene, 
and then dramatically leaves his wife for ever. 
Left behind, she stares a moment in silence, and 
then throws herself full length on a low table, 
kicks up her heels, and vents her unhappiness 
in a series of prolonged howls and paroxysms 
which put the audience into a heaven of delight. 
The tight boots and the limp they cause are 
blues; the wife's grief is a blue; and for the 
rest of the drama the melancholy husband is 
seen tramping about in his socks, carrying his 
wretched 6oots in his hands. His unhappiness 
is long-drawn-out, but when at last he decides 
to forgive and comes back home, he is met by 
the lugubrious "buddy" outside his house, who 
tells him all his wife has suffered in his absence. 
The repentant husband looks very miserable. 

"And then a little baby boy was born," says 
Buddy. 

The repentant husband cheers up. 



Si THE SOUL OF JOHN BBOWN 



"So like you, such a beauty.' * 

The husband waxes excited and happy, and 
asks a flood of questions. 

"But the baby died," says his lugubrious 
companion. 

The poor hero yells with sorrow. 

"How Baby wished you were there to see 
little baby," says Buddy. "How she talked of 
you!" 

"The little darling — and she has quite for- 
given me?" 

"She forgave you, all right. Ah, she was a 
fine woman. You never deserved such a woman 
as she was, so beautiful, so loving, so tender, 
so devoted — always saying your name, counting 
the days you had been away from her and mop- 
ing and sighing. Ah, it ate into her heart!" 

"Yes, Buddy, I am a worthless, miserable 
nigger, that's what I am. I didn't deserve to 
have her." 

"She said: 'Oh, for one kiss; oh, for one 

hug 1 " 

"I'll go in to her at once." 

"Stop!" says Buddy impressively. 

"Wha's the matter?" 

"She died dav after baby was born." 

"Not" 

"Yassir. Stone dead. Sure's I live." 

The poor hero breaks down and sobs and 
wails and howls and blubbers, distraction in his 
aspect, his knees knock together, he throws his 



OEATOES, PEEACHEES, SINGEES 85 



hat in the dust — and all the while the audience 
is convulsed with laughter. The Negro women 
in the stalls find their chairs too small for them 
and all but fall on to the floor; the smartly 
dressed Negro youths in the boxes are guffaw- 
ing from wide-opened mouths and laughing as 
much with their bodies as with their faces. 

"Mother and I went to town to buy the cof- 
fin," says Buddy. "Poor old Mother!" 

"Did Mother forgive me?" 

"Oh, yes, she forgave you all right. Such a 
mother as she was. She knew you were bad and 
wrong and a disgrace, but she loved you. Ah, 
how she loved you!" 

"I am glad there's poor old Mother." 

"Mother and I arranged for the funerals, but 
we had to sell up the home. Yes, every stick.' 9 

More and more grief on the part of husband. 

"I'll go in and see her anyway," says he, 
moving toward the door. 

"Stop!" says Buddy. 

"Wha's the matter?" 

"She's dead : . . . run over by a trolley car 
as we were going to the funeral ..." and so 
on, the denouement of course being that when 
he is about to go and hang himself he catches 
a glimpse of Mother, larger, if possible, than 
life, and he realizes it is all a hoax, and then 
Baby appears with her little baby — and all is 
joy. 

Of course the play par excellence for a Negro 



86 THE SOUL OF JOHN BEOWN 



theatre is "Othello," or rather, for a Negro 
actor in a mixed cast. Unfortunately, no white 
company in the United States will allow a Negro 
actor to take even a subordinate role. Even 
"nigger" parts, humorous Negro parts, have to 
be taken by white men. An anomaly to be reme- 
died! The profession of acting is too noble a 
one for color prejudice to lurk there. I fear, 
however, that it will be long before mixed com- 
panies of white and colored actors perform on 
the dramatic stage in the United States. 
1 { Othello 9 ' apparently is seldom played, though 
the old tragedy of Shakespeare is strangely of 
the time and apropos. The tragedy of Othello 
exhibits the same race prejudice existent in the 
sixteenth century as now, and expresses itself 
in similar terms. The white woman is not for 
Moors or Negroes on any terms. It is almost 
incredible that Desdemona should shun 

The wealthy curled darlings of our nation, to incur a gen- 
eral mock, 

Run from her guardage to the sooty bosom 
Of such a thing as thou. 

He must have used an enchantment on her. 
Othello is the devil. He is a black man. He is a 
Barbary horse — 

You'll have your nephews neigh to you. 

You'll have coursers for cousins and gennets for Germans. 

There is little doubt that by Othello Shake- 
speare intended a Negro, or, in any case, some- 



ORATORS, PREACHERS, SINGERS 87 



one whom the white denizens of New Orleans 
would call a nigger. "Moor" or "Blackamoor" 
was the common name for Negro, and the local 
detail of the play confirms the impression of a 
thick-lipped, black-bosomed, rather repulsive 
physical type. The psychology of Othello is, 
moreover, that of the modern Negro. His florid 
and sentimental talk, with its romantic yearn- 
ing and its exaggerations, is very characteristic. 

I spake of most disastrous chances, 
Of moving accidents by flood and field, 
Of hair-breadth 'scapes i' the imminent deadly breach, 
Of being taken by the insolent foe 
And sold to slavery, of my redemption thence 
And portance in my travels' history: 
Wherein of antres vast and deserts idle, 
Rough quarries, rocks and hills whose heads touch heaven. 
It was my hint to speak, — such was the process; 
And of the Cannibals that each other eat, 
The Anthropophagi and men whose heads 
Do grow beneath their shoulders. 

And are not his last noble words, with his dra- 
matic and romantic gesture, and his suicide, the 
noble African set upon a pedestal ! 

Fanny Kemble in her diary tells how John 
Quincy Adams thought "it served Desdemona 
right for marrying a 1 nigger,' " and she imag- 
ines the fine effect which some American actor 
in the role of lago might obtain by substituting 
for "I hate the Moor" "I hate the nigger," 
pronounced in proper Charleston or Savannah 
fashion. "Only think," says Fanny Kemble, 
"what a very new order of interest the whole 
tragedy might receive acted from this stand- 



88 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



point and called i Amalgamation, or the Black 
Bridal.' " 

The sympathy of a Southern audience would 
be almost exclusively with lago and Roderigo 
and the father. But could they tolerate it with- 
out a lynching? No Negro company dare pro- 
duce it south of the Mason-Dixon line. 

How the Negroes would perform tragedy in 
the vein of tragedy I do not know. There is so 
much tragedy in their history, in their past, that 
they have sought only comic relief. I believe 
the characteristic Americanism of "Keep Smil- 
ing' ' or, as expressed in the song, "Smile, 
Smile, Smile," comes from the Negro. The col- 
ored people as a whole seem to be serious only 
in church or at musical gatherings. Even the 
eloquent pastor has no easy task to gain the 
attention of his congregation. He must walk 
about and rage and flash, and with crashing 
reverberations explode the wrath of God like 
the voice of the Almighty in the storm. He must 
forget ordinary diction in forgetting himself, 
and chant in ecstasy and rapture, lifting up his 
whole soul to the Lord. If you talk to the Negro, 
he merely laughs ; you must chant to him to be 
taken seriously. In this possibly lies the vein 
for Negro dramatic tragedy and prophetic 
poetry. Perhaps, however, the emotional appeal 
of such will be too strong for Whites. 

It is a great ordeal for a sensitive white per- 
son to take part in a Negro revival or camp 



ORATORS, PREACHERS, SINGERS 89 



meeting. The emotional strain is tremendous. 
Though it is difficult to move the Negro, once he 
is moved he can be rapidly brought to a frenzy 
which surely has little enough to do with the 
Christian religion. But even when he is not 
greatly moved it is somewhat heart-searching 
for a white person present. 

One day I went in at a chapel door. The build- 
ing was full of Negroes; every seat seemed 
taken. Perched high above the platform was a 
black woman, all in black, with a large jet cross 
on her broad bosom. She was reading from the 
First Book of Samuel in a great oracular voice 
which never rose nor fell, but was like a pro- 
nouncement of eternal law. I was taken right 
up to the front and given a seat under her 
throne. I knew at once that there was likely to 
be an emotional storm in the audience. It was 
throbbing on the heartstrings even as I listened 
to the reading, and I wondered how I should 
combat it. After the Scripture the Lord's 
Prayer was said by a portentous Negro who had 
the frame of an African warrior. When he 
went down on his knees he shook the beams of 
wood and the seats. He prayed angrily, and 
clapped as he prayed, and interjected remarks. 

Thy ivill be done! Yes, Lord, that's it, that's 
what we want, certainly. 

Give us this day our daily bread! Yes, give 
us it (clap, clap, clap). Give us our daily bread, 
Lord. Feed us ! Feed us, Lord ! 



90 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



The congregation also on all hands inter- 
jected its remarks and clapped and praised as 
the Lord 's Prayer went along. 

The woman all in black was a famous mover 
of souls, and her sermon was evidently the most 
looked-for religions excitement of the morning. 
She was a plain woman with a powerful will, a 
great voice, and a rare knowledge of the Bible. 
She preached from the text, 1 4 Saul hid himself 
among the stuff. 9 9 First she told the story in a 
quiet voice and then began to make the appli- 
cation. It was no use hiding from God, for He 
would find you out. 

So rousing were her simple words, and such 
was the atmosphere she was begetting in the 
midst of her congregation, that I had to do 
everything in my power to avoid breaking down 
under the influence and sobbing like a child. 

I went over in my mind the drama of 1 1 Mac- 
beth," and reconstructed " Richard the Third," 
and called to memory the speeches I had listened 
to at the Bar dinner the night before, and what I 
had been doing during the past week and month. 
But all the while I registered also in my brain 
the whole of what the black priestess was 
saying. 

Next to me a feminine voice kept crying out : 
"Help her, Lord, help her!" and I back-pedalled 
for all I was worth. Presently the preacher was 
lifted out of the ordinary, everyday voice into 
a barbaric chant, which rose and fell and 



ORATORS, PREACHERS, SINGERS 91 



acclaimed and declaimed in rhythmical grandeur 
and music. I dared not look at the woman at 
my side. But she now lisped out, 6 6 She's all 
right now, Lord; she's all right now," and I 
thought of the relief of the Welsh when their 
preachers get into the strain they call the hwyl. 

I then very cautiously peered round at the 
woman. "What was my astonishment to see a 
girl of eighteen with a face like a huge, dusky 
melon. Her jaws were perfectly relaxed, her 
eyes half shut, and her upper lip, which was 
raised, exposed her smiling teeth and a layer of 
sweet chewing gum. 

Meanwhile the Reverend Norah up above was 
urging us all to come out from behind the stuff. 
We were always hiding behind our business, be- 
hind our families, behind our bodies. 

"They are hiding behind their bodies, O 
Lord! 

"Yes, Lord, they say that they are sick, 
that they are ill, 

"That they cannot do this and they cannot 
do that because they are feeble in health. 

"0 come out from behind the stuff I 

"You saw Saul hide behind the baggage, 
Lord. 

"Our Negro brothers and sisters are hiding 
there to-day. 

"Hiding behind their wealth 

"Hiding behind their charity 



92 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



"Hiding behind their houses and their clothes 
and their cars, 

"Yes, and their wives and their husbands, 

"And other peoples' opinions. 

"But You see them, Lord, 

"You see them, and You'll bring them 
out " 

"I'm hiding there right enough," broke out 
from the congregation, and "Lord, save us I" 
"Lord, help us!" 

The whole mass of black humanity swayed 
under the power of the emotion which the 
woman had kindled. They were about to stand 
in frenzy and give the great gospel shout of 
repentance, when something happened; the 
woman 's strength gave way, and she slipped out 
of the chant back into her ordinary voice. At 
once the spell was broken. 

The tiniest tots in the congregation then came 
out carrying little jam jars which they bore 
to each individual for his collection, and we 
sang a rolling and clamorous hymn, and all went 
home. 

One note further in the sermon, and there 
would have been a great scene of conversion at 
the close of the service, and everyone would 
have decided to come out from behind his stuff, 
as the preacher recommended. But it's better 
for one's religion not to be converted every 
Sunday* 



ORATORS, PREACHERS, SINGERS 93 

Many white people would no doubt be so 
greatly amused by a sermon of this kind that 
they would find difficulty in containing their 
laughter. One laugh from a white stranger 
might have proved calamitous, and would cer- 
tainly have evoked hostility. On the other hand, 
there are Whites who love psycho-physical reli- 
gious emotionalism. Such a type is the poet who 
wrote — 

We mourned all our terrible sins away, 

And we all found Jesus at the break of the day. 

Blessed Jesus! 

I never met a Negro who thought it humorous 
unless it were a member of one sect telling of 
the "goings-on' ' in another. Each different 
race or people seems to have its different char- 
acteristic religious expression. "When one has 
seen the exaltation of Copt and Arab in religion, 
when one has heard the great choric voice of 
Kussia at church, and the splendid, purposeful 
faith of Teutonic hymns, one knows that a calm 
singing of "Praise to the Holiest in the 
Height !" is not the only mode of praise. 
There are fifty thousand ways of praising God, 
and every single one of them is right. 

So there is no call to chide the Negro for his 
excess. His ways are part of the natural and 
Divine history of Man, and it is infinitely worth 
while to consider them with an open and chari- 
table mind. The hysteria, the frenzy, of some 
meetings I have observed is not in the white 



94 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



man. There is no use being appalled by it. It 
is the third part which finishes the man down- 
ward, as St. John says in the desert. 

"And after these emotional excitements they 
commit so many murders," said a Southern 
woman to me. 

"If so, one must be upon one's guard in the 
presence of a converted man," said L 

The foundation of the Negro's great religious 
seriousness is to be found in the Negro hymn 
or "spiritual." These spirituals were before 
there were Negro churches, before Christianity 
was actually allowed to the slaves. That is why 
they are more often called plantation melodies. 
They were sung in the twilight of the old planta- 
tions, and gave voice to a great human sorrow 
and a great human need. They show that the 
Negro has obtained access to the spiritual deeps, 
that he has a soul as we have — a fact so often 
denied — and that he is capable of penetrating 
the sublime. I listened very often to these 
songs. In several places they were sung to 
honor a white visitor. I heard them rendered 
by the Hampton Singers and lectured upon by 
Harry T. Burleigh, to whose efforts in re- 
search the preservation of several are due. 
There is no question of the excellence of them. 
They make a great appeal to all people who 
have music in their souls. 

It is, however, a musical effect, not an intel- 



ORATORS, PREACHERS, SINGERS 95 



lectual one. The words have often little rele- 
vance to anything profound, and at best are 
childish. There is generally a keynote which 
murmurs through the whole of the song, the 
function of the basso-profundo who provides a 
river of harmony like life itself, and the tenors 
and baritones and the shriller voices move on 
this flowing base like ships. On the rivers the 
slaves loved to sing as they rowed their mas- 
ters, using most aptly the beat of the oars and 
the swish of the water, while the man who 
stood at the helm and steered was usually the 
deep bass. One of the most unforgettable melo- 
dies is "0, Listen to the Lambs V 9 The tenors 
seem to" imitate flocks of innumerable sheep and 
lambs all crying to one another, while the 
basso-profundo is the irrelevance of "I want 
to go to Heaven when I die," continually 
repeated in subterranean mumbling and 
whispers 

O ilsten to the la-ambs 

All a-cry . . in'. All a-cry . . in\ 

An' I wan' to go to Hebn w'en I die! 

" Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,' 9 "Go Down, 
Moses," " Didn't Hear Nobody Pray," < 6 The 
Walls of Jericho," and many others are as- 
suredly famous. 

These and many other phenomena give indi- 
cations of a distinctive Negro point of view, and 
of an incipient broad-based popular culture. A 



96 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



sympathetic study will always give evidence 
that can be set against the point of view that the 
Negro is nothing, or an animal, or a scamp at 
best, or a shame to the species. I was sitting 
in the gardens at Baltimore in the shade of a 
giant plane tree one day when out came a mixed 
class of Negro boys and girls and a young 
eager colored master of about twenty-five. The 
girls were luxuriant "flappers" of every hue of 
polished ebony; the boys were spindle-legged 
and spry and bullet-headed. They all examined 
plants and trees and caterpillars and flowers 
under the informing tutelage of the master. 
They were as noisy and vivacious as a flock of 
birds that has suddenly lighted on a plain. They 
minded no outsider. But a tall white man 
passed them, and I saw on his face a look of 
unutterable contempt. 

"Learning botany" said he to me in a stage 
whisper. "They'll know as much about it to- 
morrow morning as pigs." 



IV 



IN TENNESSEE 

The South, they tell me, never alters. It is said 
to be the least characteristic and most unin- 
teresting part of the United States. "You will 
not care for it, ' ■ I was told. i 6 It has not changed 
in fifty years.' 9 It is certainly little visited. It 
does not exemplify the hustle and efficiency of 
the North. And then you cannot lecture down 
there. It is not a literary domain. The conse- 
quence is that in Great Britain many people 
confound the "Southern States" with the 
Republics of South America. I was asked in 
letters why I had gone South. It was thought 
there must be less interest there. But that is a 
mistake. The South is as vital as the West and 
the East. On the whole it is more picturesque. 
It is not so diversified, but the vast areas of cot- 
ton on the one hand and of sugar and corn and 
rice on the other, and the forests, present well- 
marked features and give the South a hand- 
some natural aspect. It is true that the South- 
ern point of view as regards the Negro does not 
change very much, and that all vote one way, 
but it does not follow that the Southern point 
of view as regards the whole future of the 

97 



PS 



THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



United States has not been modified and will not 
change. The South has been very poor and is 
becoming rich, will perhaps become very rich 
and prosperous. It was almost deprived of 
political power, and now it has, in an extraordi- 
nary way, regained political power. It is well 
known that the opinion of a poor and ruined 
man changes when Fortune makes up to him for 
the past. So also with the South. 

Then, in considering a people as a whole, one 
is bound to reckon character. Thus, in Great 
Britain, what important factors are the rugged- 
ness of Yorkshire and Lancashire, the caution 
of the Scots, the authority-loving of the south- 
ern counties, the enthusiasm and imaginative- 
ness of the Celts. And in America one has to 
reckon, not only with the Puritan fervor of Xew 
England, but with the determination and turbu- 
lence and group instinct of the more cavalier 
spirit of the South. Though heat makes the 
Southern women languid and the Southern men 
fiery and quick of temper, it does not seem to 
make them weaker. On the whole, the South- 
erner seems to have a stronger will than the 
Northerner, and despite the exuberance of 
North and West, and a flood of contrary ideas 
and sentiments, the Southerner remains, as it 
were, eternally incapable of being suppressed. 
As long as America speaks, the South will 
always speak. Therefore, the South is very sig- 
nificant in American life, 



IN TENNESSEE 



99 



After Virginia I went by rail to the neighbor- 
ing State of Tennessee. I came into Knoxville 
one Friday night. The sight of it in the moon- 
light was impressive — the broad railway bridge, 
the clock tower with luminous face, the main 
street flocking with a Tennessee crowd, all shops 
fully ablaze with light; bunting and wreaths 
hung from house to house — for it was the week 
of the Fair. A Salvation Army meeting bel- 
lowed forth musical offerings and hallelujahs 
*■ 6 thro' the flag-fllled air." Everywhere elec- 
tric signs were twinkling. Laughter and talk 
walked arm in arm along the broad main way. 
1 1 It's a fine city, this Knoxville of yours," I 
ventured to remark to a stranger. "No, not a 
fine city," said he, "a fine people, but not a fine 
city, a wretched city; it needs pulling down and 
rebuilding, but fine people, the finest people in 
the world." This rare self -consciousness and 
belief in self, this group feeling, I believe, one 
would look in vain for in the North. 

"Sober Knoxville" is one of the most respon- 
sible of Southern cities. Tennessee as a whole 
is quiet and steady. Lynching is infrequent. It 
was therefore considered very extraordinary 
that a race riot should break out in the city. 
The race riots in Chicago and Washington in 
1919 were no doubt worse, but none caused more 
perplexity than that which broke out at Knox- 
ville on August 30th of that year. 

Deplorable and terrible as were those Negro 



100 THE SOUL OF JOHN BBOWN 



pogroms of the year after the war, I think they 
were due to special conditions. They were the 
expression of the frustrated ferocity that would 
otherwise have gone into the war. Demobiliza- 
tion excitements had much to do with them — 
the parades of Negro regiments, the idleness of 
white troops and of the demobilized unem- 
ployed. When the complete transition to peace 
conditions had been achieved, the danger of 
these outbreaks was averted. The year 1920 
remains freer from race riots. That is not to 
say that they may not break out again, and on 
a larger scale. In any time of social upheaval 
and revolution they become possible. Those 
that have occurred show an ugly animus against 
the Negro still latent in the common people of 
the cities. 

As explained to me, the outbreak at Knoxville 
seemed comparatively simple in origin. Mr. 
Maures Mayes, a Negro, murdered Mrs. Lind- 
say, a white woman. He was arrested and sent 
to a jail in another city. A mob formed to enter 
Knoxville prison and lynch the Negro. But a 
committee opened parley with the governor, 
and was allowed to satisfy itself that the pris- 
oner was not there. Apparently, however, there 
was a considerable amount of whisky stored in 
the prison. The whisky attracted the mob also. 
A general assault was commenced, the place 
was stormed, and all prisoners were released. 
Troops sent to disperse the mob joined it, and a 



IN TENNESSEE 



101 



second purpose then appeared — to take revenge 
on the colored population. Someone started a 
rumor and it spread like wildfire, that thou- 
sands of Negroes were marching on the business 
part of the city and that two soldiers had been 
killed. The colored folk were taken by surprise 
— there was a great deal of looting and destruc- 
tion and personal robbery, and a number of 
Negroes were killed, while many were injured 
It was the first race riot that had ever taken 
place in Knoxville, and all reputable people 
were sorry for it. I was told it all sprang from 
the crime of one Negro. But one might just 
as well say it all sprang from a desire to have 
the whisky in the prison — Knoxville, so- 
briety ! 

Because in general the Negroes are well 
treated in Knoxville, this lapse has been dis- 
counted, and they are surprisingly free from 
bitterness. I called at the Carnegie Library for 
colored people, a quiet little building — not much 
by comparison with the really grand public 
library of the city, but still a provision, and 
as such to be noted, in comparison with so many 
other cities where the Negroes not only have 
not access to the general public libraries, but 
have no separate provision made for them. The 
Knoxville library for colored people was, I be- 
lieve, opened by the mayor some years ago, and 
the city felt proud of what it had done. It is 
unfortunately very inadequate, but it is in the 



102 THE SOUL OF JOHN BKOWN 



charge of a capable colored lady who will per- 
haps help to i 1 agitate " a bigger and better one. 
The Negroes are very grateful in any case for 
what they have. 

I called on several representative Negroes. 
They were much more friendly to the whites 
than those I found in Virginia. " We get on very 
well here," was a common remark. I visited the 

colored lawyer H , established in Knoxville 

some eight years. He was in deshabille and was 
sweeping out his office with a hard brush and 
shovel. He turned out to be very lawyer-like in 
conversation. I asked him a whole series of 
questions, to which he answered "Yes" or 
"No," without volunteering any information 
or enlarging in any way. He called the race 
riot a "circumstance." He said he had won 
cases even in the Supreme Court, and was re- 
spected by the Bench for his grim determina- 
tion. After saying that, he went to the window 
and spat violently into the street below and then 
returned. 

I praised his probable skill in handling juries, 
and he was mollified. 

"I am practiced to read men's faces," said 
he. "I pick out the man who is likely to cause 
trouble and address myself exclusively to him. 
Judges here are absolutely devoid of color 
prejudice." 

A seeming half-wit had just been sentenced 
to death at the city of Danville for accosting 



IN TENNESSEE 103 



a white girl. The trial was of the briefest, and 
the Negro's transit to the electric chair was 
made the most rapid possible — so as to avoid a 
lynching. The lawyer thought that the sentence 
was harsh — but as long as lynching was so prev- 
alent, legal punishment had to be severe. 

"Did you ever hear of a white man being 
convicted for assaulting a Negro f " I asked. 

"No," said he, constrainedly, "not unless it 
were an offense against a child. ' * 

He did not think Negroes showed much enter- 
prise in Knoxville — there were no banks, no 
large businesses, no drug stores, though there 
were four colored lawyers and sixteen doctors. 

After Lawyer H I visited Mr. D , a 

successful colored dentist, with well-groomed 
head and manicured hands. He was clad in a 
white hospital coat which was spotless, and by 
the appurtenances of his cabinet he seemed to 
be abreast of scientific progress as far as den- 
tistry was concerned. He had a good practice, 
not only among the Blacks, but with the white 
country population. He said the old settlers had 
no prejudice against a colored dentist, though 
the younger, newer men and women were dif- 
ferent. While I was talking a colored girl came 

in to have Mr. D fill a hollow tooth. He said 

the colored folk had suffered greatly with their 
teeth in the past, but were taking more care of 
them now. He loved putting gold crowns on 
teeth, and most smart Negro young men felt 



104 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



a little gold in the mouth was very chic — just 
the thing. It is certainly a characteristic of the 

modern Xegro. Mr. D watched the race riot 

from his office window, and was much alarmed 

at the time. But, like Lawyer H , he felt 

that there was good feeling in the city. He 
thought it an accident. The soldiers had been 
inflamed against the Negroes. 

In lack of Xegro enterprise what a contrast 
Knoxville was to places like Norfolk, Virginia ! 
I was soon to realize that the further South I 
went the more stagnant would Xegro life show 
itself — until I reached the point when there 
would be little scope for investigation. The 
traveler going South from Washington is let 
gradually downward into a sort of pit of degra- 
dation. Chattanooga is lower than Knoxville, 
Birmingham lower than Chattanooga, rural 
Georgia and Alabama lower than all of these. 
This I think ought to be realized lest the glamour 
of Xegro progress in Virginia and the North 
give a false impression of the whole. 

At Knoxville it was Fair time. The time when 
I was in the South was one of fairs and car- 
nivals. As the Russian goes on pilgrimage when 
the harvest has been gathered in, so the Ameri- 
can goes to the Fair in the fall. There is in 
the South a vast network of the moving cara- 
vans of showmen, and a huge show business 
quite novel to an Englishman. I arrived in 
many towns at the time of their Fair, and had 



IN TENNESSEE 105 



the greatest difficulty in obtaining shelter for 
the night, so crowded were they. The people 
from the country round rolled in to the Fair 
in their cars and choked every thoroughfare. 

One blemish on the large State Fair is that, 
except as servants, no Negroes are to be seen. 
There is a great gathering of white people, but 
no Blacks. It is therefore more polite, more 
well dressed, more conventional, and there is 
less of color and life than would fairly have 
obtained had all been welcome. "What is a Fair 
if it be not an outing for the poor! It is re- 
duced to this in the South, that the Whites have 
their Fairs and the Negroes have theirs 
separately. 

I accompanied an Appalachian sportsman. 
He told me he shot a big, black bear the day 
the Armistice was signed. Sure as the first of 
November came round he was out with gun and 
haversack and Negro boys hunting the bear. He 
hunted for the love of hunting, though bear's 
flesh could be sold at a dollar a pound and was 
worth it, every cent. He thought Tennessee did 
"mighty well" in the war, and they gave the 
boys a fine reception when they came back. 
They'd had a drop of whisky in them in the 
riot, but a few niggers less wasn't much matter. 
He pointed out to me signs of Knoxville pros- 
perity — houses that cost ten to twenty thou- 
sand dollars to build — picturesque and wooden, 
ibut very costly from a European point of view. 



106 THE SOUL OF JOHN BEOWN 



No cotton was grown in this district, and next 
to no tobacco. Many people did not even know 
what a stalk of cotton was like. 

The Knoxville Fair was a wondrous exposi- 
tion of Southern hogs (each hog docketed with 
personal weight and what it gains per day), 
bulls and chickens and pigeons and rabbits and 
owls and what not, and there was a hall of auto- 
mobiles festooned in flags. Caged lions and 
tigers flanked the auditorium of the free vaude- 
ville entertainment. Negro boys flogged bony, 
grunting camels round the grounds. The pop- 
corn stands vied with the ice-cream counters 
stacked with cones. There was an astonishing 
uproar from the various revolving "golden 
dreams' 9 and of the jibbing metal horses; and 
outside all manner of peep shows, men who had 
sold their voices talked till they foamed at the 
lips or went hoarse — of the freaks and wonders 
within. Thus the two-headed child, the girl who 
does not die though her half-naked body is 
transfixed with darts; the "whole dam family' 9 
(apes dressed up as human beings) ; the ciga- 
rette fiend, a thin, yellow strip of humanity who 
is slowly but surely smoking himself to death; 
Bluey, the missing link between monkey and 
man; the fire swallower from the South Sea 
Islands; Zarelda, the girl with a million eyes 
(dotted all over her body), who has baffled all 
scientists; the garden of Allah and the garden 
of lovely girls; Leach, the human picture 



IN TENNESSEE 107 



gallery, with the world's masterpieces tattooed 
all over his body; Dagmar, the living head 
without a body . , . 

And the owner of the show, and of the bought 
voice which must not stop advertising it to the 
passer by, stands at one side in shirt sleeves, 
and rolls his quid and spits, and seems to medi- 
tate on dollars and cents, ever and anon signal- 
ing to the man with the voice not to let the 
crowd get away without coming in. It was 
pathetic to come upon the freaks, later, on the 
road ; see Zarelda, demurely clad in black, grip- 
ping a suitcase, and realize that she had 
i 'dates' 9 all over the South, and showed her 
million eyes to-day in Knoxville, then in Macon, 
then in Savannah, then Jacksonville and Mobile 
and New Orleans and a score of other places, 
sometimes for a day, sometimes for three days 
or a week — not in any sense a music-hall artiste, 
but a sort of gypsy by life and by profession. 
How tired the freaks must get, knocking about 
from State to State and listening to the loud 
laugh that speaks the vacant mind. 

One would expect as the accompaniment of 
this show life a great number of strolling musi- 
cians and a poor folk wandering from town to 
town. But there are practically none. Strolling 
musicians now obtain polite employment at the 
many cinema houses where sensational pictures 
alternate with low vaudeville. Southern talent 
meets with a boisterous reception from the 



108 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



twenty-cent houses of Atlanta and New Orleans. 
One hears very broad humor upon occasion, 
frantic burlesques of the nervous hysteria and 
half-witted ignorance of the " nigger' ' — when 
the white man makes up as a Negro he always 
shows something lower than the Negro. At one 
show in New Orleans the whole audience roared 
with mirth at a competition in what was called 
1 ' fizzing/ ' the spitting of chewed tobacco in 
one another's faces and the bandying of purely 
Southern epithets and slang. Music is little de- 
veloped among the Whites, though the singing 
of "Dixie" choruses is hailed as almost na- 
tional. Musical instruments are now rare, even 
among the Negroes, and seem to have been dis- 
placed by the gramophone. There is no "grid- 
ling," no beggars singing hymns on the city 
streets. In the country there are few tramps. 
The ne'er-do-wells are to be found more in 
the market places and the cheap streets. Pro- 
hibition has subterraneanized that part of the 
drink traffic which it has not killed, and the 
hitherto unemployed find a congenial occupa- 
tion leading the thirsty to the "blind tigers." 
It is rare to come across a man on the road, and 
Vachel Lindsay, tramping Georgia and reading 
his poems to the farmers, must have been 
unique, not only as a poet, but as a tramp. I 
saw nothing resembling the grand procession of 
"hoboes" that I met when tramping to Chicago 
seven years ago. Perhaps it was because immi- 



IN TENNESSEE 



109 



gration had ceased, and throughout the whole of 
America there was a need for labor which ab- 
sorbed all men. Yet there could have been few 
on the road even before the war : the vast num- 
ber of Blacks makes it unfitting for a white man 
to be tramping, and there is, moreover, less 
chance for a white man to get work in any case. 

Much is said against the 6 i poor "Whites" or 
"poor white trash," as the white proletariat is 
called by the black proletariat. They are said 
to be the worst enemies of the Negro, and the 
Negro is afraid of Bolshevism or Socialism 
because he knows the common white people, 
"those who have nothing and are nothing," are 
the last people likely to give him justice. As 
one of the most popular of Negro leaders said 
recently: "As long as Socialism is followed by 
the lower classes of Whites, we can see there is 
more danger coming from Socialism to the 
Negro than from anything else, because below 
the Mason and Dixon line the people who lynch 
Negroes are the low-down Whites." Of course 
those crowds who joyfully allow themselves to 
be photographed around the charred remains of 
the Negro they have burnt, thus affording the 
most terrible means of propaganda to Negro 
societies, are more of the dull, uneducated 
masses than of the refined and rich. They hate 
the Negro more because they are thrown more 
in contact with him, and their women are more 
accessible to him. They are in competition with 



110 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



the Negro for work and wages, and would gladly- 
welcome a complete exodus to the North or to 
Liberia, for then their wages would go up. 
Physically, and man for man, they are afraid 
of the Negro, and therefore they attack him in 
mobs. Fortunately, there are not in the South 
great numbers of poor Whites except in the 
large cities and at the ports. 

By contrast with the people of the North, the 
people of the South are noisy, very polite in- 
doors, but brusque and rough without. They 
will do a great deal for you as a friend, but 
not much for you as a stranger. They have 
sharp-cut features, thin lips, blank brows. The 
women do not take on a fair fullness of flesh, 
but are inclined to dry up and fade. There are 
an enormous number of faded women every- 
where — a sign, perhaps, that the climate does 
not suit the race. The accent seems to vary 
with the State, and Tennessee speaks with far 
more distinction than Georgia, where the "nig- 
ger brogue" prevails, and it is difficult to tell 
White from Black by voice. Nearly all r's are 
dropped. Moral character is said to be weak, 
but there is nevertheless a very high standard, 
at least in matters of sex. The Southern woman 
is by no means as conscious of her charms as 
the Northern woman, and an unusually suscept- 
ible male could spend a quiet time in these parts. 
Men are not thinking of love and composing 
poems, even though it is the South, but they are 



IN TENNESSEE 



111 



if anything keener on business and money. 
Most people seemed suspicions of strangers, not 
communicative, but once they have taken the 
stranger to their hearts they easily become 
warm-heartedly effusive. 

As a stranger I encountered a surprising 
lack of civility at a "non-union" plough com- 
pany at Chattanooga. The employees were 
mostly Negroes, and I called on the white super- 
intendent to obtain permission to go over the 
works. A heavy-jowled fellow kept me wait- 
ing half an hour in an anteroom, and then not 
only refused point-blank to let me see condi- 
tions in his factory, but was so brusque in his 
manner that I was forced to give him my mind 
roundly on his lack of courtesy, not to me per- 
sonally, but to a literary man. As a rich busi- 
ness man he seemed to consider the profession 
of letters as dirt under his feet. I must say I 
felt shame to be so angry, and I was much 
amused some weeks later to read in a Chatta- 
nooga newspaper picked up by accident that 
Billy Sunday had visited this city and had 
preached in the said works, and at the close of 
his address, the superintendent being present, 
all the employees were en bloc converted to 
Christ. 

Chattanooga is a larger city than Knoxville, 
better built and more spacious. One has entered 
the rayon of Southern steel and coal. Its many 
factory chimneys and its sooty sky testify to 



112 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



considerable industrialism. As in its sister city 
of Birmingham, Alabama, tliere are many non- 
union shops. A great steel strike was in prog- 
ress in the United States, but while the workers 
in the North stood their ground in a long and 
bitter struggle, there was scarcely the sem- 
blance of a walkout in places like Chattanooga 
and Birmingham. Northern labor trouble 
seemed to mean Southern capitalistic pros- 
perity. 

One reason why Southern labor remains to a 
great extent unorganized is the Negro difficulty. 
Unions are not ready to accept Negro member- 
ship. Therefore the Negro can always be 
brought in to do the white man's work if the 
latter goes on strike. Whether union or non- 
union, the wages seem fairly high. I talked with 
a Negro moulder who earned on an average six 
dollars a day. That is over eighteen hundred 
dollars American, and about five hundred 
pounds British money a year. A non-union un- 
skilled man would, however, earn little more 
than two dollars a day — which, with the cost of 
food so high, is very little. 

I noticed a difference in the attitude of the 
colored population in Chattanooga. It was 
much more depressed than that of Knoxville or 
the Virginian cities. Nothing terrible had oc- 
curred in Chattanooga, but there was said to 
be a bad mob, and what had happened at Knox- 
ville had frightened them. The newspapers 



IN TENNESSEE 113 



contained intimidating news paragraphs. On 
September 26th, at Omaha, Nebraska, the mob 
had burned down the courthouse, lynched a 
Negro, and tried to lynch also the mayor, E. P. 
Smith, who was twice hoisted to a lamp-post 
because he refused to hand over a prisoner to 
the mob. " As I stood under that lamp-post with 
the mob's rope necktie circling my neck and 
listened to the yells 4 Lynch him,' I took the 
same course any true American would have 
taken,' ' said the mayor. In the face of death 
he refused to yield his authority to Judge 
Lynch. That was at Omaha, in the West. On 
September 29th two Negroes were lynched by 
twenty-five masked men at Montgomery, Ala- 
bama, for alleged assault of a white woman. 
On October 1st the terrifying color riot broke 
out at Elaine, Arkansas, on a dispute over cot- 
ton prices. On October 6th two Negroes were 
burned at the stake and three were shot to 
death at Washington, Georgia, for supposed 
complicity in the murder of a deputy sheriff. 
Next day, at Macon, Eugene Hamilton was 
lynched for attempted murder, and so on. 
Since the Civil War one could scarcely find a 
more bloody and terrible period. And the poor 
Whites of Chattanooga kept hinting that Chat- 
tanooga's turn would soon come. I was told 
Negroes did not care to stray far from their 
homes in the suburbs after dark. They were 
tormented and mauled on their way home from 



114 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



church. The Jim Crow portion of the trolley 

car was invaded by roughs trying to start 
trouble. In some cities in the South the Negroes 
have all-black motor omnibuses and jitneys 
running. These would obviate much of the dan- 
ger of the trolley car which has only a straw 
screen between the races. But Negro enterprise 
has not risen to motor omnibuses in depressed 
Chattanooga. From a white point of view, the 
city might be improved by more light. It is a 
dark and extensive place. The great companies 
do not want to lose their Negroes and might do 
more to keep them. I found the Negroes scared, 
and many were ready to seize the first oppor- 
tunity to go northward. Mr. T said, { 1 They 

might kill us all." Mrs. W said: "All who 

have children want to go away. There'll be no 
chance for our children here. Before the war 
it was much better, but they seem to dislike us 
more now. Perhaps it would have been better if 
none of our men had gone to the war." I en- 
deavored to reassure most of those with whom 
I talked, for they had an exaggerated idea of 
their danger. 

At Chattanooga there was no library for the 
colored people. There seemed to be little Negro 
business. I was at once introducd to the drug- 
gist and the undertaker. Undertaking and drug- 
selling, which includes ice-cream-soda dispens- 
ing, seem the most popular business enter- 
prises among the Negroes. Wherever three or 



IN TENNESSEE 



115 



four polite Negroes were gathered together and 
I was talking to them someone would say, 
"Permit me to introduce Undertaker So-and- 
So, and the latter would smile blandly and offer 
his brown hand. At Chattanooga I visited a 
swell establishment and looked over a show- 
room of elegant coffins, and I was shown into 
the parlor and the embalming room, where on 
a stone slab the bodies were prepared. This 
undertaker had started originally with one cof- 
fin, and had now become, as I saw, one of the 
rich men of the city. Funerals cost between a 
hundred and a hundred and fifty dollars, and 
were usually defrayed by the insurance com- 
panies. 

I found the large East Side drug store, kept 
by a young man who had been in charge of the 
pneumonia ward of the 92nd Divisional Hos- 
pital in France. He had as many white cus- 
tomers as colored. He did not sell much patent 
medicine, as he said the attitude of the United 
States Government to patent medicines had be- 
come most severe. He was a fully qualified 
chemist. Doctors prescribed and he dispensed 
in the ordinary way. Yes, many were surprised 
to find a Negro chemist in a position of authority 
in a hospital, but that was due to white people's 
ignorance of the progress made by colored stu- 
dents of medicine. 

I greatly enjoyed "Joseph's Bondage/' a 
dramatic cantata sung by a colored choir. 



116 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



Evidently the Negroes had composed the cantata 
themselves, for the verbiage was very quaint 
and simple. In a packed hall to be the only 
"Whites was for myself and the lady who was 
with me a curious position. It caused a whole 
row of seats to remain empty in the midst of a 
crowded house. No Negro male dared sit down 
next to the white woman for fear of what I 
might do. However, when I left my place to 
talk to a Negro I knew in another part of the 
hall the empty line filled up mechanically. 

The production of the cantata was quite 
amusing. Potiphar's guards were the smartest 
possible, being ex-soldiers from Pershing's 
army, upright Negro boys in khaki. But Poti- 
phar was in blue, and looked like a man in 
charge of an elevator, and wore the slackest of 
pants. Leva, his wife, pawed Joseph over and 
yowled: "I love you, I love you." Pharaoh, 
with glistening steel crown and steel slippers, 
was impressive. Joseph as a slave was the 
Negro workingman in his shirt ; as Vizier, how- 
ever, with the purple on him, he looked very 
grand, and the jubilee chorus which he sang 
when at length Pharaoh stepped down and he 
sat in Pharaoh's seat, was very jolly, swaying 
to one side of the crowd around him and sing- 
ing to them, swaying to the other side and sing- 
ing to them, and then to all and God 

I did not leave the city without attending 
church, and I heard a little black Boanerges 



IN TENNESSEE 117 



give a brilliant address. He walked up and 
down his rostrum with arms folded, and cooed 
and wheedled, but ever and anon crouching and 
exploding, lifting his hand to strike, bawling, 
even yelling to humanity and the Almighty. In 
dumb show he pulled the rope of a poor fellow 
being lynched — and sent straight to hell. He 
spoke of the race riots, and then suddenly be- 
coming breathless, as if he were a messenger 
just arrived with bad tidings, he flung both 
arms wide apart, dilated his eyeballs, and cried 
in a terrorizing shriek — "there is riot and anar- 
chy in the land." 

He had chosen a fine combination of texts 
for his sermon: "Can the Ethiopian change his 
skin or the leopard his spots? That which is 
born of the flesh is flesh and that which is born 
of the Spirit is Spirit." 

Though a complete stranger, I was singled 
out and brought to the front to give the congre- 
gation a Christian greeting. I told them I had 
read in a Negro paper that "the Negro church 
had failed. Prayer had been tried for fifty 
years and had been proved to be no use." And 
I said what I firmly believe to be true, that only 
Christianity can save color. 

The orator was much pleased and said to his 
congregation: "See what God has sent us this 
Sunday morning," and he invited me to give 
the address in the evening. We had an amus- 
ing altercation on the platform. "I do not know 



118 THE SOUL OF JOHN BEOTVX 



what to call him, or who he is ; he may be any- 
body, a doctor, a professor, a M he looked 

at me inquiringly. 

-Oh. plain Mr.," said I. 

He hung on, however, to "Professor" till I 
interrupted him again. 

At the close of my address the deacons came 
out to assess the congregation in the matter of 
collection. They looked it up and down and de- 
cided that twenty-two dollars was the amount 
that could be raised. So with their solemn faces 
they stared patiently at the congregation while 
the plates went round. The collection was 
counted, and was found to be considerably less. 
So the deacons addressed themselves once more 
to the congregation, averring that some of the 
young men were holding back. Then for five 
minutes individuals were moved to come rip 
singly and make additional offerings. Progress 
was reported, and then more individuals came 
up till the assessment had been realized. 

Then the most touching thing occurred. The 
pastor turned to me and offered to share the 
collection with me. 

1 1 Oh, no ! " I whispered hurriedly, feeling, per- 
haps, rather shocked at the idea. 

"He says 'Oh, no,' " said the pastor to the 
congregation. 



y 



MARCHING THROUGH GEORGIA 

Traveling from Chattanooga to Atlanta the 
mind inevitably reverts to the American Civil 
War, for in 1863 the victory of the North 
marched from Chattanooga and the famous 
battle of Lookout Mountain to the taking of 
Atlanta and the discomfiture of Georgia. The 
glorious Stars and Stripes came victoriously 
out of the Northern horizon, climbed each hill, 
dipped and climbed again, with a clamorous, 
exultant Northern soldiery behind it. General 
Sherman began to gather his great fame, while 
General Lee, the adventuresome Southern 
leader, allowed himself to be cut off in Virginia. 
The efforts of the South had been very pic- 
turesque, like the play of a gambler with small 
resources and enormous hopes, but the shades 
of ruin gathered about her and began to nega- 
tive the charm of her beginnings. Lincoln had 
proclaimed the freedom of the slaves. The 
South pretended that in any case slavery could 
not survive the war, and in token of this she 
enlisted Negro soldiers, making them free men 
from the moment of enlistment. In military 
extremity policy promises much which after- 



119 



120 THE SOUL OF JOHN BBOWN 



wards ingrate security will not ratify. The 
Southern planter might have obtained some 
measure of indemnification for the loss of his 
slaves had he come to terms in time. But he 
hoped somehow he might win the right to man- 
age his Negroes as he wished without interfer- 
ence. There was the same violent state of mind 
on the subject of the Negroes as slaves as there 
is now on the subject of the Negroes as free men. 
All that was missing was the white-woman talk. 
Though originally the colonists had been gener- 
ally opposed to the introduction of slavery, yet 
slavery had taken captive and then poisoned 
most men's minds. The South chose to fight 
to the end rather than sacrifice the institution 
prematurely. There was a pride, as of Lucifer, 
in the Southerner, too, a belief in himself that 
foredoomed him to be hurled into outer dark- 
ness and to fall through space for nine days. 
Sherman's army, when it burned Atlanta and 
marched through Georgia laying the country 
waste, was inspired with something like the 
wrath of God. 

In order to see the ex-slave and ex-master 
to-day, it is necessary to dwell not only in cities 
but in the country, and I chose to walk across 
the State of Georgia as the best way to ascer- 
tain what life in the country was like. And I 
followed in the way Sherman had gone. There, 
if anywhere, it seemed to me, the reactions of 
the war and of slavery must be apparent to-day. 



MARCHING THROUGH GEORGIA 121 

Sherman was something of a Prussian. He 
was a capable and scientific soldier. From an 
enemy's standpoint, he was not a humanitarian. 
War to him was a trade of terror and blood, 
and he was logical. "You cannot qualify war 
in harsher terms than I will," said he. "War 
is cruelty, and you cannot refine it. 9 9 And when 
he had captured Atlanta he ordered the whole 
population to flee. 

If they cared to go North, they would find 
their enemies not unkind. If they thought there 
was safety in the South — then let them go fur- 
ther south to whatever protection the beaten 
Southern Army could afford. 

So North and South they fled, the people of 
Atlanta, but mostly South, for they were bit- 
ter; and the roads filled with the pitiful array 
of thousands of men and women and children 
with their old-fashioned coaches, with their bar- 
rows, with their servants, with those faithful 
Blacks who still heeded not the fact that "the 
day of liberation had arrived." All under safe- 
conduct to Hood's army. 

What complaints, what laments, as the proud 
Southern population took the road. A lamenta- 
tion that is heard till now ! And when the people 
had gone, the city of Atlanta was set on fire. 
Sherman had decided to march to the sea, and 
he could not afford to leave an enemy popula- 
tion in his rear, nor could he allow the chance 
that secret arsenals might exist there after he 



122 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



had gone. It was a never to be forgotten spec- 
tacle, "the heaven one expanse of lurid fire, the 
air filled with flying, burning cinders.' 9 "We 
were startled and awed," says a soldier who 
inarched with the rest, 6 ' seeing vast waves and 
sheets of flames thrusting themselves heaven- 
ward, rolling and tossing in mighty billows — a 
gigantic sea of fire." Small explosions arranged 
by the engineers were punctuated by huge ex- 
plosions when hidden stores of ammunition 
were located, and while' these added ruin to 
ruin in the city they sounded as lugubrious and 
awful detonations to the soldiery on the road. 
Depots, churches, shops, warehouses, homes 
flared from every story and every window. 
Those who remained in the town were few, but 
it was impossible not to be stirred if not ap- 
palled. A brigade of New England soldiers was 
the last to leave, and marched out by Decatur 
Street, led by the band of the 33rd Massachu- 
setts regiment, playing 

John Brown's body lies a-mould'ring in his grave 
His soul is marching on — 

the lurid glare of the fire gleaming upon their 
bayonets and equipment, inflaming their vis- 
ages and their eyes which were already burn- 
ing with the war faith of the North. 

That was in the fall of 1864. Years have 
passed and healed many wounds. Now it is 
Atlanta in the fall of 1919 and the crush of the 



MARCHING THROUGH GEORGIA 123 



Fair time. All Georgia is at her capital city. 
The automobiles are forced to a walking pace, 
there are so many of them, and they vent their 
displeasure in a multiform chorus of barking, 
howling, and hooting. So great is the prosper- 
ity of the land that the little farmer and the 
workingman have their cars, not mere ' i Ford 
runabouts/' but resplendently enameled, ca- 
pacious, smooth-running, swift-starting coaches 
where wife and family disport themselves more 
at home than at home. Atlanta's new life has 
grown from the old ruins and hidden them, as 
a young forest springs through the charred 
stumps of a forest fire. On each side Atlanta's 
skyscrapers climb heavenward in severe lines, 
and where heaven should be the sky signs 
twinkle. Every volt that can be turned into 
light is being used. The shops and the stores 
and the cinemas are dazzling to show what they 
are worth. The sidewalks are thronged with 
Southern youth whose hilarious faces and gre- 
garious movements show a camaraderie one 
would hardly observe in the colder North. 
Jaunty Negro boys mingle with the crowd and 
are mirthful among themselves — as well 
dressed as the Whites, sharing in the "record 
trade" and the boom of the price of cotton. 
They are not slaves to-day, but are lifted high 
with racial pride and the consciousness of uni- 
versities and seminaries on Atlanta's hills, 
and successes in medicine, law, and business in 



124 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



the city. They roll along in the joyous freedom 
of their bodies, and make the South more South- 
ern than it is. How pale and ghostlike the 
South would seem without its flocks of colored 
children, without those many men and women 
with the sun shadows in their faces ! 

"We love our niggers and understand 
them," say the Whites, repeating their formula, 
and you'd think there was no racial problem 
whatever in the South, to see the great "Gate 
City" given over to merriment unrestrained 
and many a Negro colliding with many a White 
youth and yet never a fight — nothing on the 
crowded streets to exemplify the accepted hos- 
tility of one to the other. One has the thought 
that perhaps Atlanta did not burn in vain, and 
that the South as well as the North believes in 
the immortality of the soul of John Brown. 

The tobacco-chewing, smiling, guffawing 
crowds of the street, and Peachtree Street 
jammed with people and cars ! What a hubbub 
the four jammed-up processions of automobiles 
are making — like choruses of hoarse katydids 
crying only for repetition's sake and the lust of 
noise! But there is more noise and more joy 
still a-coming! Skirling and shrieking, in 
strange contrast to the Negroes and to the 
clothed Whites and to the color of night itself, 
comes the parade of college youths all in their 
pajamas and nightshirts. Long queues of 
some hundreds of lads in white shouting at the 



MARCHING THROUGH GEORGIA 125 



top of their voices — they climb in and out of 
the electric cars, rush into shops and thea- 
tres in a wild game of "Follow my leader." 
Rah, rah, rah, they cry, rah, rah, rah, and rush 
into hotels, circle the foyer, and plunge among 
the amazed diners in the dining rooms, thread 
their way around tables and up the hotel bal- 
ustrade, invade bedrooms, go out at windows 
and down fire escapes, and then once more file 
along the packed streets amidst autos and 
cars, raving all the while with pleasure and 
excitement. It is good humor and boisterous- 
ness and the jollity of the Fair time. Up above 
all the flags and the bunting wave listlessly in 
the night air. It seems impossible but that the 
firing of Atlanta is forgotten, and the pitiful 
exodus of its humiliated people — forgotten also 
the exultancy of the soldiers of the North sing- 
ing while the city burned. 

Sherman with 60,000 men and 2500 wagons 
but only 60 guns marched out, and none knew 
what his destination was. A retreat from 
Atlanta comparable only to Napoleon's retreat 
from Moscow was about to commence. The hos- 
tile farming population of Georgia and the 
Carolinas should harass the Yankee army as the 
Russian peasants had done the French in 1812. 
That was the Southern belief and the substance 
of Southern propaganda at the time. Not so the 
Northern Army, which had the consciousness of 
victory and a radiant belief in its cause and in 



126 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



its general. "A feeling of exhilaration seemed 
to pervade all minds, a feeling of something 
to come, vague and undefined, still full of 
venture and intense interest. Even the common 
soldiers caught the inspiration, and many a 
group called out: 1 Uncle Billy, I guess Grant 
is waiting for us at Richmond.' The general 
sentiment was that we were marching for Rich- 
mond and that there we should end the war, but 
how and when they seemed to care not, nor did 
they measure the distance, or count the cost in 
life, or bother their brains about the great riv- 
ers to be crossed and the food required for man 
and beast that had to be gathered by the way."* 

Sherman himself had not decided on what 
point exactly he would march. But he never in- 
tended to march against Lee at Richmond, 
though the South and his own soldiers believed 
it. He always designed to reach the sea and re- 
open maritime communication with the North, 
and kept in mind Savannah, Port Royal, and 
even Pensacola in North Florida. So universal 
was the belief that he was marching on Rich- 
mond by way of Augusta that in all the coun- 
try districts of Georgia where the left wing 
marched they will tell you still that the enemy 
was marching on Augusta. 

You shall maintain discipline, patience, and 
courage, said Sherman to his army. And I will 
lead you to achievements equal to any of the 

* "Sherman's Memoirs." 



MAECHING THEOUGH GEOEGIA 127 



past. We are commencing a long and difficult 
march to a new base, but all the chances of war 
have been provided for. The habitual order of 
march will be by four roads as nearly parallel 
as possible. The columns will start habitually at 
7 a. m. and make about 15 miles a day. The 
army will forage liberally on the country dur- 
ing the march. Horses, mules, and wagons be- 
longing to the inhabitants may be appropriated 
by the cavalry and artillery freely and without 
limit, discriminating, however, between the rich, 
who are usually hostile, and the poor and indus- 
trious, usually neutral or friendly. All foragers 
will refrain from abusive or threatening 
language, and they will endeavor to leave each 
family reasonable means of sustenance. Ne- 
groes ivho are able-bodied and serviceable may 
Tie taken along if supplies permit. All non-com- 
batants and refugees should go to the rear and 
be discouraged from encumbering us. Some 
other time we may be able to provide for the 
poor Whites and Blacks seeking to escape the 
bondage under which they are now suffering. To 
corps commanders alone is entrusted the power 
to destroy mills, houses, cotton gins, etc., but 
the measure of the inhabitants 9 hostility should 
be the measure of the ruin which commanders 
should enforce* 

There was much, more said in those very 
finely written and emphatic orders, but the sen- 

* Field Orders 119 and 120, abbreviated. 



128 THE SOUL OF JOHN BEOWN 



tence that captured the imagination of the com- 
mon soldier was certainly 6 6 the army will forage 
liberally on the country" which at once became 
a common gag among the men. For it spelt 
loot and fun and treasure trove and souvenirs 
and everything else that stirs a soldier's mind. 
There is a human note throughout the whole 
of General Sherman's orders, but no softness, 
rather an inexorable sternness. He had no 
patience with the cause of the Eebels nor with 
their ways of fighting. He and his staff were 
not averse from the idea of reading the popula- 
tion of Georgia and South Carolina a terrible 
lesson. While the march was military it inev- 
itably became punitive. The cotton was de- 
stroyed, the farms pillaged, the slaves set freej 
the land laid waste. It was over a compara- 
tively narrow strip of country, but Sherman 
was like the wrath of the Lord descending 
upon it. 

So out marched the four divisions (14th, 
15th, 17th, and 20th) joyously singing as they 
went the soldiers' songs of the war — 

One and Free 

and 

He who first the Flag would lower 
SHOOT HIM ON THE SPOT. 

and all manner of variants of John Brown to 
the Glory Hallelujah chorus. 

The way out from Atlanta is now a road of 
cheap shops and Jewish pawnbrokers, Negro 



MARCHING THROUGH GEORGIA 129 



beauty parlors, bag shops, gaudy cinema and 
vaudeville sheds, fruit stalls and booths of 
quack doctors and magic healers, vendors of the 
Devil's corn cure, fortune tellers, and what not. 
A Negro skyscraper climbs upward. It is de- 
cidedly a ' 6 colored neighborhood/' and rough 
crowds of Xegro laborers and poor Whites frolic 
through the litter of the street. Painfully the 
electric cars sound their alarms and budge and 
stop, and budge again, threading their way 
through the masses, glad to get clear after half 
a mile of it and then plunge into the compara- 
tive spaciousness of villadom outside the city. 

It is not as it was of yore. Where the bloody 
July battle of Atlanta raged a complete peace 
has now settled down amid the dignified habita- 
tions of the rich. Trees hide the view, and chil- 
dren play upon the lawns of pleasant houses 
while the older folk rock to and fro upon the 
chairs of shady verandas. 

Dignified Decatur dwells on its hill by the 
wayside, and has reared its pale monument to 
the Confederate dead. On this white obelisk the 
cause of the South is justified. Within sight of 
it rises an impressive courthouse, which by its 
size and grandeur protests the strength of the 
law in a county of Georgia. 

There was a gloomy sky with lowering 
clouds, and a warm, clammy atmosphere as if 
the air had been steamed over night and was 
now cooling a little. The road leaving behind 



130 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



Decatur and the suburbs of Atlanta became 
deep red, almost scarlet in hue, and ran between 
broad fields of cotton where every pod was 
bursting and puffing out in cotton wool. Men 
with high spindle-wheeled vehicles came with 
cotton bales done up in rough hempen netting. 
Hooded buggies rolled sedately past with spec- 
tacled Negroes and their wives. Drummers in 
Ford cars tooted and raced through the mud. 
Thus to Ingleside, where a turn in the road re- 
veals the huge hump of Stone Mountain, shad- 
owy and mystical like uncleft Eildons. All the 
soldiers as they bivouacked there or marched 
past on that bright November day of '64 re- 
marked the mountain, and their gaze was 
turned to it in the spirit of curiosity and adven- 
ture. 

I fell in with a Mr. McCaulay who was a child 
when Sherman marched through. He thought 
the Germans in Belgium hardly equaled Sher- 
man. Not only did his troops burn Atlanta but 
almost every house in the country. He pointed 
out new houses that had sprung up on the ruins 
of former habitations. 

. . . "A fence used to run right along here, 
and there were crops growing. No, not cotton ; 
there was not the demand for cotton in those 
days, and not nearly so much grown in the 
State. Over on that side of the road there was 
a huge encampment of soldiers, and I remem- 
ber stealing out to it to listen to the band. 



MARCHING THROUGH GEORGIA 131 



"The foragers came to the houses and took 
every bit of food — left us bone dry of food. 
They also took our horses and our mules and 
our cows and our chickens. Sometimes a fam- 
ily would have a yoke of oxen hidden in the 
wood, but that would be all that they had. 
Everyone had to flee, and all were destitute. It 
was a terrible time. But we all stood by one an- 
other and shared one another's sorrows and 
helped one another as we could. 

"All colored folk also sto'od by us. I expect 
you've read, 6 Uncle Tom's Cabin,' and 'The 
Leopard's Spots/ but the picture is terribly 
overdrawn there." 

"I did not know these told the story of the 
march, ' ' said I. 

"They do not. But they give an account of 
the Negroes that is entirely misleading. The 
North has queered the Negro situation by send- 
ing all manner of people down here to stir the 
Negro up against us. Till we said, 'You and 
your niggers can go to the devil' — and we left 
them alone. 

"But that was a mistake, and we are realiz- 
ing it now, and intend to take charge of the edu- 
cation of the Negro ourselves, and be respon- 
sible for him spiritually as well as physically. 
There never was a better relationship between 
us than there is now. 

"And I — I was brought up among them as a 
child, as an equal, played with them, wallowed 



132 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



with them in the dirt, slept with them. They're 
as near to me as flesh and blood can be." 

It was curious to receive this outpouring 
when I had not mentioned the Negro to him at 
all and seemed merely curious concerning Sher- 
man's march. It is, however, characteristic of 
the South: the subject of the treatment of the 
Negro recurs like idee fixe. 

At Lithonia, after a meal of large yellow 
yams and corn and chicken and biscuits and 
cane syrup, I called on old Mrs. Johnson, who 
lived over the way from Mrs. Jones. Lithonia 
was much visited by the cavalry. Decatur was 
stripped of everything, and Lithonia fared as 
badly in the end. Men came into the farmyard 
and there and then killed the hogs and threw 
them on to waiting wagons. These were forag- 
ers from the camps outside Atlanta. But one day 
someone came with the news — 1 ' Sherman has 
set fire to the great city and he'll be here to- 
morrow. 99 And sure enough on the morrow his 
army began to appear on the road — the van- 
guard, and after that there seemed no end to 
the procession. The army was all day march- 
ing past with its commissariat wagons and its 
water wagons, its horses, its mules, and regi- 
ment after regiment. The despoiled farm wives 
and old folk could not help being thrilled, 
though they were enemies. General Slocum, 
who commanded the left wing of the army, 
wrote his name in pencil on granny's doorpost 



MARCHING THROUGH GEORGIA 133 



when he stopped at her house with one or two 
of his staff. 

The Confederate soldiers were "Johnny 
Rebs" and the Union soldiers were "Billy 
Yanks.' 1 Neither side was known to have com- 
mitted any crimes against women or children, 
and the latter were crazy to watch the Yanks 
go by, though often their fathers were away in 
the hard-pressed Rebel armies. 

As I walked along the red road betwixt the 
fluffy cotton fields from village to village and 
from mansion to mansion, those stately farm- 
houses of the South, I was always on the look- 
out for the oldest folk along the way. The 
young ones knew only of the war that was just 
past, the middle-aged thought of the old Civil 
War as somewhat of a joke, but the only thing 
the old folks will never laugh over is the great 
strife which with its before and after made the 
very passion of their lives. So whenever I saw 
an old man or woman sitting on a veranda by 
the wayside I made bold to approach and ask 
what they knew of the great march, and how it 
had affected them, and the Negroes. 

They told of the methodical destruction of the 
railways, and of the innumerable bonfires whose 
flames and smokes changed the look of the sky. 
Every rail tie or sleeper was riven from its bed 
of earth and burned, and the long steel rails 
were heated over the fires. To make the fires 
bigger timber was brought from the woods, and 



134 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



every rail was first made red-hot and then 

twisted out of shape — the favorite plan being 
for three or four soldiers to take the hot rail 
from the fire, place it between two trunks of 
standing pines, and then push till it was bent 
nigh double. 

They told of the stillness after the army had 
gone, and of the sense of ruin which was upon 
them with their cotton destroyed, and all 
their stores for the winter pillaged, and their 
live stock driven off. An old dame told me how 
the only live animal in her neighborhood was a 
broken-down army horse left behind to die by 
the enemy. The folk were starving, but a 
woman resuscitated the horse and went off with 
him to try and bring food to the village. She 
walked by his side for fear he would drop down 
dead — and first of all she sought a little corn for 
the horse, for 1 1 Old Yank" as she called him. 
Many a weary mile they walked together, only 
to find that "Sherman's bummers' 9 had been 
there before her. She slept the night in a Negro 
hut (a thing no white woman would dream of 
doing now) and the Negroes fed her and gave 
corn to the horse and sent her on her way. Out 
of several old buggies and derelict wheels a 
"contrapshun" had been rigged out and tied to 
the old horse, but it was not until beyond Cov- 
ington and Conyers that a place was found 
which the foragers had missed, and the strange 
buggy was loaded for home. 



MARCHING THROUGH GEORGIA 135 

I spent a night in Conyers in beautiful coun- 
try, and was away early next morning on the 
Covington road. The road was shadowy and san- 
guine. The heavy gossamer mist which closed 
out the view of the hills clothed me also with 
white rime. Warm, listless airs stole through 
the mist. On my right, away over to the heavi- 
ness of the mist curtain, was a sea of dark green 
spotted and flecked with white ; on my left was 
the wretched single track of the railway to Cov- 
ington rebuilt on the old levels where it was 
destroyed in '64. Wooden carts full to the rim 
with picked cotton rolled clumsily along the red 
ruts of the road, and jolly-looking Negroes 
sprawled on the top as on broad, old-fashioned 
cottage feather beds. And ever and anon there 
overtook me the inevitable " speed merchants," 
hooting and growling and racketing from one 
side to the other of the broken way. I sat down 
on a stone in an old wayside cemetery, sun- 
bleached and yet hoary also with mist. Such 
places have a strange fascination, and I knew 
some of those who lay beneath the turf had lain 
unwitting also when the army went by. What 
old-fashioned names — Sophronias and Simeons 
and Claramonds and Nancies! On most of the 
graves was the gate of heaven and a crown, and 
on some were inscribed virtues, while on one 
was written 4 4 He belonged to the Baptist 
Church." The oldest stones had all fallen and 
been washed over with red mud. Among the 



136 THE SOUL OF JOHN BEOWN 



old were graves of slaves, I was told, but since 
the war no Black has been buried with the 
"White. 

An old Negro in cotton rags, grizzled white 
hair on his black, weather-beaten face, told me 
where the colored folk lay buried half a mile 
away, where he, too ? would lay down his old back 
and rest from cotton picking at last. "But on 
de day ob Judgment dere be no two camps/ 9 
said he. "No, sir . . . only black and white 
souls.' ' He remembered the joy night and the 
jubilation after the army passed through, and 
how all the colored boys danced and sang to be 
free, and then the disillusion and the famine and 
the misery that followed. The old fellow was a 
cotton picker, and had a large cotton bag like a 
pillow case slung from his shoulders — an ante- 
diluvian piece of Adamite material with only 
God and cotton and massa and the Bible for his 
world. 

While sitting on this wayside stone I have 
the feeling that Sherman's army has marched 
past me. It has gone over the hill and out of 
view. It has marched away to Milledgeville and 
Millen and Ebenezer and Savannah, and not 
stopped there. It has gone on and on till it be- 
gins marching into the earth itself. For all that 
are left of Sherman's warriors are stepping in- 
ward into the quietness of earth to-day. 

The mist lifts a little, and the hot sun streams 
through. The crickets, content that it is no 



MARCHING THROUGH GEORGIA 137 

longer twilight, have ceased chirping, and ex- 
quisite butterflies, like living flames, are on the 
wing. It is a beautiful part of the way, and 
where there is a sunken, disused road by the side 
of the new one I take it for preference. For 
probably it was along that the soldiers went. 
Now young pines are springing from their foot- 
steps in the sand. 

Here no cars have ever sped, and for a long 
while no foot has trod. The surface is smooth 
and unfooted like the seashore when the tide 
has ebbed away, and bright flowers greet the 
wanderer from unfarmed banks and gullies. So 
to Almon, where an old gaffer told me how he 
and some farm lads with shotguns had deter- 
mined they would "get" Sherman when he 
came riding past with his staff, and how they 
hid behind a bush, where the Methodist church 
is now standing, and let fly. Sherman they 
missed, but hit someone else and they fled to 
the woods. He lost both his hat and his gun in 
the chase which followed, but nevertheless got 
away. Not that I believed in its entirety the old 
man's story. It was his pet story, told for fifty 
years, and had become true for him. I came 
into Covington, a regular provincial town, 
whose chief feature is its large sandy square 
about which range its shops with their scanty 
wares. There I met another old man, a captain 
who served under Lee, and indeed surrendered 
with him. He had been beside Stonewall Jack- 



13S THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



son when the latter died. He was now eighty- 
four years, haunting the Flowers Hotel. 

"This world's a mighty empty place, believe 
me, M said he. "Eighty-four years . . 

He seemed appalled at his own age. 

1 1 Threescore and ten is the allotted span . . . 
At seventeen I went gold digging . . . seeking 
gold ... it was the first rush of the digging 
mania in California, but I only got six hundred 
dollars worth." 

"At seventeen years many their fortunes seek 
But at fourscore it is too late a week" 

said I sotto voce. 

"A mighty empty place/ 9 repeated the old 
captain, rocking his chair in the dusk. "Yes, 
Sherman marched through here. He burned all 
the cotton in the barns. I was born here, and 
lived here mos' all my life, but I was with Lee 
then. That war ought never to have been. No, 
sir. It was all a mistake. We thought Abraham 
Lincoln the devil incarnate, but knew after- 
wards he was a good friend to the South. 
It's all forgotten now. We bear the North no 
grudge except about the niggers M 

He interrupted himself to greet a pretty girl 
passing by, and he seemed offended if any 
woman passed without smiling up at him. But 
when he resumed conversation with me he re- 
verted to "The world's getting to be a mighty 
empty place . . . eighty-four years . . . threescore 
and ten is the allotted span, but . . . 99 



MARCHING THROUGH GEORGIA 139 



I turn therefore to the witness of the time, 
and the genius who conceived the march and 
watched his soldiers go. Thus Sherman wrote 
of Covington: "We passed through the hand- 
some town of Covington, the soldiers closing up 
their ranks, the color bearers unfurling their 
flags, and the bands striking up patriotic airs. 
The white people came out of their houses to 
behold the sight, spite of their deep hatred of 
the invaders, and the Negroes were simply fran- 
tic with joy. Whenever they heard my name 
they clustered about my horse, shouted and 
prayed in their peculiar style which had a natu- 
ral eloquence that would have moved a stone. I 
have witnessed hundreds, if not thousands of 
such scenes, and can see now a poor girl in the 
very ecstasy of the Methodist 1 shout,' hugging 
the banner of one of the regiments and jump- 
ing to the 'feet of Jesus' ... I walked up to 
a plantation house close by, where were assem- 
bled many Negroes, among them an old gray- 
haired man of as fine a head as I ever saw. I 
asked him if he understood about the war #nd 
its progress. He said he did ; that he had been 
looking for the * Angel of the Lord' ever since 
he was knee-high, and though we professed to 
be fighting for the Union he supposed that slav- 
ery was the cause, and that our success was to 
be his freedom . . 

That was the characteristic Negro point of 
view — the expectation of the "Coming of the 



140 THE SOUL OF JOHN BKOWN 



Lord," the coming of the angel of deliverance. 
Their only lore was the Bible, and their especial 
guide was the Old Testament. Despite all talk 
of their masters, talk which would have been 
dismissed as "eyewash" in the war of 1918, they 
believed that God had sent to rescue them. They 
waited the miraculous. Sherman was God's 
messenger. 

So the glorious sixty thousand broke into 
quiet Georgia — carrying salvation to the sea — in 
an ever memorable way. The foe, stupefied by 
defeat, was massing on the one hand at Augusta 
and on the other at Macon, bluffed on the left 
and on the right, while in the center the un- 
probed purpose of the general reigned in secret 
but supreme. 

The Twentieth Corps on the extreme left went 
by Madison, giving color to a proposed attack 
on Augusta. The Fifteenth feinted at Macon, 
the cavalry galloping right up to that city and 
inviting a sortie. The Seventeenth Corps was in 
close support of the Fifteenth, and the Four- 
teenth kept in the center. It was the route of the 
Fourteenth that I decided to follow, and it was 
also the way along which went Sherman himself. 
It was generally understood by the Fourteenth 
Corps that Milledgeville was its object at the 
end of a week's marching. The order of march 
for the morrow was issued overnight by army 
commanders to corps commauclers and then 



MARCHING THROUGH GEORGIA 141 



passed on to all ranks. The men slept in the 
open, and beside watch fires which burned all 
night. Outposts and sentries kept guard, though 
there were few alarms. The warm Southern 
night with never a touch of frost, even in No- 
vember, passed over the sleeping army. Reveille 
was early, commonly at four o'clock, when the 
last watch of the night was relieved. The un- 
wanted clarion shrilled through men's slum- 
bers, blown by urgent drummer boys. The 
bugles of the morning sounded, and then 
slowly but unmistakably the whole camp 
began to rouse from its stertorousness, and 
one man here, another there, would start up 
to stir the smouldering embers of the fires and 
make them all begin to blaze; and then began 
the hubbub of cleaning and the hubbub of cook- 
ing, the neighing of horses, the clatter of wagon- 
packing and harnessing. Reveille was made 
easier by the prospects of wonderful breakfasts 
— not mere army rations, the bully and hard- 
tack of a later war, but all that a rich country- 
side could be made to provide — "potatoes fry- 
ing nicely in a well-larded pan, the chicken 
roasting delicately on the red-hot coals, the 
grateful fumes of coffee," says one chronicler of 
the time — fried slices of turkey, roast pig, sweet 
yams, sorghum syrup, and corn fortified the sol- 
dier for the day's march. Horses and mules also 
fared astonishingly well, and amid braying and 
neighing and pawing huge quantities of fodder 



142 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



were provided. Then once more insistent bugles 
called ; knapsacks and equipment were strapped 
on, the horses and mules were put in the traces, 
the huge droves of cattle were marshaled into 
the road, and the army with its officers and 
sergeants and wagons and guns and pontoons 
and impedimenta of every kind (did not Sher- 
man always carry two of everything?) moved 
on. 

There was something about the aspect of the 
army on the march that was like a great mov- 
ing show. The musical composition of "March- 
ing Thro' Georgia'' has caught it: 

Hurrah! Hurrah! We bring the Jubilee! 
All hail the flag, the flag which sets you free! 
So we brought salvation from Atlanta to the Sea, 
When we were marching thro' Georgia. 

The clangor of brass, the braying of mules, 
the shouts of the soldiers, the ecstasy of the 
Negroes, and then the proud starry flag of the 
Union ! 

The procession has all long since gone by, and 
men speak of the famous deeds "as half -forgot- 
ten things.' ' It is a quiet road over the hill and 
down into the vale with never a soldier or a 
bugle horn. Cotton, cotton, cotton, and cotton 
pickers and tiny cabins, and then maize stalks, 
corn from which long since the fruit has been 
cut, now withered, warped, shrunken, half fallen 
in every attitude of old age and despair, It is a 



MAECHING THROUGH GEOEGIA 143 



diversified country of hill and dale, with occa- 
sionally a huge gray wooden mansion with 
broad veranda running round, and massive col- 
umns supporting overhanging roof. The col- 
umns, which are veritable pine trunks just 
trimmed and planed or sawn, give quite a clas- 
sical air to the Southern home. Sometimes 
there will be seven or eight of these sun-bleached 
columns on the frontage of a house, and the 
first impression is one of stone or marble. 

The Southern white man builds large, has 
great joy in his home, and would love to live on 
a grand scale with an army of retainers. The 
Negro landowner does not imitate him, and 
builds a less impressive type of home, neither 
so large nor so inviting. Eich colored farmers 
are, however, infrequent. The mass of the Negro 
population is of the laboring class, and even 
those who rent land and farm it for themselves 
are very poor and sunk in economic bondage. 
Their houses are mostly one-roomed wooden 
arks, mere windowless sheds resting on four 
stones, a stone at each corner. Furniture, if any, 
was of a rudimentary kind. "See how they 
live," said a youth to me. "Just like animals, 
and that's all they are." 

"Why don't you have any windows?" I asked 
of a girl sitting on the floor of her cabin. 

"They jus' doan' make 'em with windows," 
she replied. "But we've got a window in this 
side," 



144 THE SOUL OF JOHN BEOWN 



"Yes, but without glass/ 9 
"Ah, no, no glass." 
"Is it cold in winter?" 
"Yes, mighty cold." 

Some cabins were poverty-stricken in the ex- 
treme. But in others there were victrolas, and 
in cases where the merest amenities of life were 
lacking you would find a ramshackle Ford car. 
On the road Negroes with cars were almost as 
common as white men, and some Negroes drove 
very furiously and sometimes very skillfully. 
There were no foot passengers on the road. I 
went all the way to Milledgeville before I fell 
in with a man on foot going a mile to a farm. 
The current Americanism, Don't walk if you 
can ride seemed to have been changed into, Don't 
stir forth till you can get a lift, and white men 
picked up Negroes and Negroes white men with- 
out prejudice, but with an accepted understand- 
ing of use and wont. I was looked upon with 
some doubt, and scanned from hurrying cars 
with puzzlement. Lonely Jasper County had not 
seen my like before. But saying "Good day!" 
and "How d'ye do?" convinced most that the 
strange foot traveler was an honest Christian. 
Lifts were readily proffered by men going the 
same way. Those who whirled past the other 
way may have reflected that since I was on foot 
I must have lost my car somewhere. 

A common question put to me was, "What 
are you selling?" and people were a little dumb- 



MARCHING THROUGH GEORGIA 145 



founded when I said I was following in Sher- 
man's footsteps. That had not occurred to them 
as a likely occupation on a hot afternoon. I felt 
rather lite a modern Rip Van "Winkle who had 
overslept reveille by half a century and was try- 
ing in vain to catch up with the army which had 
long since turned the dusty corner of the road. 
Still, the Southerners were surprisingly 
friendly. They said they knew nothing about it 
themselves, and then took me to the old folk 
who remembered. The old folk quavered forth 
— "It's a long, long time ago now." It inter- 
ested them always that I had been in the Ger- 
man war and had marched to the Rhine, and 
they were full of questions about that. 1 6 Oh, but 
this war was not a patch on that one," they 
said. "I tell them they don't know what war is 
yet — what we suffered then, what ruin there 
was, how we had to work and toil and roughen 
our white hands, and eat the bread of bitterness 

like Cain " 

After the Civil War the initial struggle of the 
settlers and pioneers in the founding of the col- 
ony had to be repeated. Everyone had to set to 
and work. The help of the Negroes was at first 
diminished or entirely cut off. Even the neces- 
sary tools were lacking. Nevertheless there was 
now a surprising absence of bitterness. "The 
war had to be. Slavery was bad for the South, 
and it took the war to end it" was an opinion on 
all men's mouths. "When President McKinley 



146 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



said that the character of Robert E. Lee was the 
common inheritance of both North and South he 
healed the division the war had made, 9 9 1 heard 
someone say. Even of Sherman, though there 
were bitter memories of him, there were not a 
few ready to testify to his humaneness — for in- 
stance, this from a poor store keeper : 

"I suppose you're not old enough to remem- 
ber the Civil War?" 

" 'Deed, sir, I do." 

"Do you remember Sherman's march?" 

"Yes, I was only a child, but it made a pow- 
erful impression on me. My father was killed 
in the war. And we were scared to death when 
we heard Sherman was coming. But he never 
did me any harm. An officer came up, asked 
where my father was, learned he was dead. 
And he made all the soldiers march past the 
house, waited till the last one had gone, then sa- 
luted and left us. Captain Kelly was his name, 
and I shall never forget his face, it was all 
slashed about with old scars. He was a brave 
man, I'm sure . . . No, they didn't do mucH 
harm hereabout, except to those who had a lot 
of slaves or to those who had treated their nig- 
gers badly. If they found out that a man had 
been ill-treating his niggers they stripped his 
house and left him with not a thing " 

On the other hand the rich, the owners of 
large plantations, remained in many cases still 
virulent, 



MARCHING THROUGH GEORGIA 147 



"I know Sherman is in hell," said a Mr. 
R— — of historic family. "When my mother 
' lay sick in bed the soldiers came and set fire to 
our cotton gin and all our barns. They came 
upon us like a tribe of Indians and burst into 
every room, ransacking the place for jewelry 
and valuable property. I was a small boy at the 
time, but I shall never forget it. They took the 
bungs from all our barrels and let the syrup run 
to waste in the yard because they themselves 
wanted no more of it. They killed our hogs and 
our cows before our eyes and threw the meat to 
the niggers. Yes, sir. A year or so back Sher- 
man's son said he was going to make a tour 
along the way his daddy had gone — to see what 
a wonderful thing his daddy had done. Lucky 
for him he changed his mind. We'd a strung 
him to a pole, sure " 

Such sharp feeling was, however, certainly 
exceptional. Near Eatonton was a Mr. Lynch of 
Lynchburg, storekeeper, postmaster, wheel- 
wright, and blacksmith all in one. He averred 
that they were "hugging and kissing the 
Yankees now, just as they would be hugging and 
kissing the Germans in a few years." 

"There's mean fellows on every side," said 
he. "You don't tell me that there's no mean 
fellows among the English, the French, and the 
Italians. I don't believe all the stories about 
the Germans. I remember what they used to 
say about the Yankees. They get mighty mad 



148 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



with me when I tell 'em, but there's plenty of 
mean fellows on both sides.' ' 

The village was named after the old man's 
grandfather — an Irish settler. It is just beside 
the old Eatonton factory which Sherman burned 
down. At the next turn in the road there is a 
roaring as of many waters. A screen of pine 
and rank grass undergrowth hides an impres- 
sive sight. A step inward takes you to the ro- 
mantic stone foundation of the old factory; you 
tan climb up on one of the pillars and look out. 
The interior of the factory is all young trees and 
moss and tangles of evergreen, but beyond it 
rushes a mighty stream over a partially 
dammed broad course, red as blood, but wal- 
lowing forward in creamy billows and white 
foam. 

The factory was used to weave coarse cotton 
cloth, and had evidently been worked by water 
power. Quite forgotten now, unvisited, it was 
yet a picturesque memorial of the march, and I 
was surprised to see no names of Visitors 
scrawled on the walls of its massive old foun- 
dations. 

I walked into Eatonton by a long and pictur- 
esque wooden bridge over the crimson river, a 
strange and wonderful structure completely 
roofed, and shady as a tunnel. The evening sun 
blazed on the old wood and on the red tide and 
on the greenery beyond, making the scene look 
like a colored illustration of a child's tale. 



MARCHING THROUGH GEORGIA 149 

Eatonton, where Brer Rabbit and Brer Fox 
were actually born, is now a hustling "city" 
with bales of cotton fluff higglety-pigglety down 
its streets, and again beautiful bales of extra 
quality in the windows of its cotton brokers. 
There are also modern mills where cotton is 
being spun. The business men on the streets 
talk of "spots" and 1 ' futures' 9 — spot cotton 
being apparently that which you have on the 
spot and can sell now, and futures being crops 
yet to be picked, which, presuming on kind 
Providence, may be sold and re-sold many times 
before being grown. What is said of Eatonton 
may be said of Milledgeville, twenty miles fur- 
ther on. It is a cotton town. It is a gracious seat 
as well, with a scent of history about its old 
buildings, but it impresses one as a great cotton 
center. The streets of Milledgeville were almost 
blocked with cotton bales. It would have been 
easy to fight a battle of barricades there. The 
principal church looked as if it were fortified 
with cotton bales, and it would have been pos- 
sible to walk fifty or a hundred yards stepping 
on the tops of the bales. Bales were on the tidy 
lawns of shady villas or stacked on the veran- 
das, and everywhere the hard-working gins 
were roaring and grinding as they tore out the 
cottonseed from the white fluff and left cotton 
that could be spun. Wisps of cotton lint blew 
about all over the streets, and cotton was entan- 
gled in dogs' fur and children's hair. In the 



150 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



porches of Negro cabins it was heaped high till 
the entrance to the doorway itself was blocked. 

Cotton was booming at Savannah and New 
Orleans, and despite talk of the weevil destroy- 
ing the pod, and of bad weather and bad crops, 
it was clear that Georgia was very prosperous. 
Men and women discussed the price of cotton aa 
they might horse races or State-lottery results 
or raffles. Everyone wanted room to store his 
cotton and hold it till the maximum price was 
reached. My impression of Georgia now was 
that it was not nearly so rich in live stock and 
in food as it had been in the time of Sherman. 
In his day it grew its own food and was the sup- 
ply source of two armies. To-day it imports the 
greater part of its food. It sells its cotton and 
buys food from the more agricultural States of 
the South. It might have been thought to be a 
land overflowing with fruit and honey and milk, 
but fruit and honey are cheaper in New York 
than there, and there is no margin of milk to 
give away. Meat is scarce and dear. There is 
no plenty on the table unless it be of sweet po- 
tatoes. I imagine that after Sherman's raid the 
farmers felt discouraged, and decided never to 
be in a position to feed an enemy army again. 
There are many always urging the Georgian to 
grow corn and raise stock, and so make Georgia 
economically independent, but the farmer al- 
ways meets the suggestion with the statement 
that cotton gives the largest return on any given 



MARCHING THROUGH GEORGIA 151 



outlay and takes least trouble. That is true, but 
it is largely because the Negro cotton picker is 
such a cheap laboring hand. A farm laborer 
would automatically obtain more than a cotton 
picker. The hypnotic effect of the slave past is 
strong and binding upon the Negroes. Perhaps 
it is still the curse of Georgia. There are still 
planters who drive their laborers with the whip 
and the gun — though the shortage of labor dur- 
ing the war caused these to be put up. It is not 
in money in the bank that one must reckon true 
prosperity. However, in this material way> 
Georgia has quite recovered from the Civil War. 
But she has lost a good many of the compensa- 
tions of true agriculture; cotton is so commer- 
cial a product that there is no glamour about it, 
not even about the old plantations, unless it be 
that of the patient melancholy of the cotton 
pickers. 



VI 



TRAMPING TO THE SEA 

I passed through two ancient capitals of 
Georgia, first Milledgeville, and then Louisville. 
The relationship which Milledgeville bore to 
Atlanta reminded me of the relationship of the 
old Cossack capital of the Don country to the 
modern industrial wilderness of South Eussia 
called Rostof-na-Donu. But business is busi- 
ness, and there is only business in this land. 
Even along the way to the old capital it is al- 
ways so many miles to Goldstein's on the mile- 
posts instead of so many miles to Milledgeville. 

The old legislature sat at Milledgeville, but it 
fled at the approach of Sherman. It was a day 
of great astonishment when General Slocum 
paused in his supposed march upon Augusta 
and General Howard in his attack on Macon, 
and one came south from Madison while the 
other marched north from McDonough. There 
was an extraordinary sauve qui petit. Panic 
seized the politicians and the rich gentry of the 
place, for the rumor of the terrible ways of 
the foragers was flying ahead of the Union 
Army. Everyone strove to carry off or hide his 
treasures. They must have had terrible priva- 

152 



TBAMPING TO THE SEA 153 



tions and some adventures on the road trying to 
race the army, and they would have done bet- 
ter to remain to face the music, for no private 
effects were destroyed in this city. Similar 
scenes were enacted as at Covington. The 
darkies made a great day of jubilee, and hugged 
and kissed the soldiers who had set them free. 
The cotton was burned and made a great flare — 
seventeen hundred bales of it even in those days. 
The depots, magazines, arsenals, and factories 
were blown up. Governor Brown had fled with 
all his furniture, and Sherman in the gover- 
nor's house slept on a roll of army blankets on 
the bare floor. 

There are many signs of ease and refinement 
in the spacious streets of Milledgeville, though 
it has increased little in size since the war. It 
has large schools for the training of cadets and 
the training of girls. These are model institu- 
tions and are very valuable in Georgia. The 
place, however, seemed to lack the cultural sig- 
nificance it ought to have. But it is true that 
churches and Sunday schools were full. No 
shops of any kind were open on Sundays ; the 
people had forgotten the taste of alcoholic drink 
and were ready to crusade against tobacco. 
They are not given to lynching, though they 
allowed some wild men from Atlanta to break 
open their jail some years ago and take away a 
Jew and hang him. But they are too content. 
At church on Sunday morning the pastor com- 



154 THE SOUL OF JOHN BEOWN 



plained that while all were willing to give 
money to God none were willing to offer them- 
selves. He invited any who were ready to give 
themselves unreservedly to God to step forth, 
and none did. And it was an eloquent appeal by 
a capable orator. I met an old recluse who was 
at the back of the church. He had tried to give 
himself to God but was now living at the asylum 
where he had found shelter, being otherwise 
without means. He had been a Baptist minister 
at a church near Stone Mountain, but rheuma- 
tism had intervened after twenty years' work, 
and he could no longer stoop to immerse the can- 
didates for baptism. He was an Englishman 
who had listened to Carlyle's and Buskin's lec- 
tures, and he talked of Dean Farrar's sermons 
and the good deeds of the Earl of Shaftesbury. 
He spoke as no one speaks to-day, good old 
measured Victorian English. He was a touching 
type of the despised and rejected. He loved 
talking to the Negro children in the "colored" 
school till the townsfolk warned him against it. 
His books form the nucleus of the town library, 
but the rats have gnawn all the bindings of his 
"Encyclopedia Britannica, 1 9 and I formed the 

opinion that poor B living on sufferance in 

the lunatic asylum was probably the best read 
man in Milledgeville. 

It is a delightful walk to Sandersville, over 
Buffalo Creek and over many streams crossed 



TRAMPING TO THE SEA 155 



by the most fragile of bridges apparently never 
properly rebuilt since Wheeler's cavalry de- 
stroyed them in the face of the oncoming army. 
Georgia used to have many excellent bridges, 
but it never really hindered the Yankee army by 
destroying them. It seems rather characteristic 
of the psychology of the people that they would 
not replace what they had had to destroy. Now 
at the foot of each long hill down which the au- 
tomobiles tear is a trap of mere planks and gaps 
which chatters and indeed roars when passed 
over. Many motorists get into the mud. 

Sandersville is a busy town hung in gloomy 
bunting which no one has had time to take down 
since the last county fair. It has a large, dusty, 
sandy square with a clock tower in the middle. 
There are great numbers of cars and lorries 
parked around. Cotton bales, old and new, fresh 
and decayed, lie on every street. Huge gins are 
working, and Negroes are busy shoveling oily- 
looking cottonseed into barns ; cotton fluff is all 
over the roadways in little clots ; every man is in 
his shirt; the soda bars do a great trade even 
in November. A stranger said to me " Come and 
have a drink' 9 and we went in and had a "cherry 
dope." There is an impressive-looking public 
library, much larger than at Milledgeville, with 
high frontal columns of unadorned old bricks 
mortared and laid in diamond fashion, a barred 
door, and an entrance so deep in cotton fluff, 
brickdust, and refuse that one might be par- 



156 THE SOUL OF JOHN BEOWN 



cloned for assuming that learning was not now 

in repute. On the other hand there is a fine, well- 
kept cemetery with large mausoleums for the 
rich and tiny stones for the poor. 

Sandersville was the scene of one or two com- 
bats during the war. But when it is borne in 
mind that only a hundred of Sherman's army 
died from all causes on its march to the sea, it 
will be understood that the strife was not seri- 
ous. Sherman has been called a Prussian, and 
he certainly possessed military genius and un- 
derstood soldiering as a mental science, but he 
always tried to save his men. He wished to win 
victories with the smallest possible loss of men, 
and he thought out his unorthodox plans of cam- 
paign with that in view. He could have lost half 
his army on this adventurous march to the sea. 
It was a most daring exploit, and if it had failed 
the whole responsibility would have been laid at 
Sherman's door. But Sherman had thought the 
matter out, and he completely deceived his 
enemy. Once more after Milledgeville Slocum is 
seen to be threatening Augusta in the north and 
Howard is striking south. The cavalry is driv- 
ing the enemy ahead and plunges northward to 
Louisville and Waynesboro, well on the way to 
Augusta. The enemy evacuates the central re- 
gions of Georgia, and Sherman's infantry moves 
through unscathed. Foraging has become or- 
ganized and systematic. The wagons amount to 
many thousands, and it is curious that the pop- 



TRAMPING TO THE SEA 157 



ulation did not destroy all vehicles and so pre- 
vent the army from carrying away so much. The 
donbt which General Sherman expressed at the 
beginning of the march that supplies might 
prove inadequate has entirely vanished, and the 
army has a crowd of Negro camp followers al- 
most as big as itself. These eventually became 
a great hindrance, but they were evidently en- 
couraged to join themselves to the soldiers in 
the Milledgeville and Sandersville district. They 
proved invaluable helps in the seeking out of 
hidden treasure and the pillaging of farm- 
houses. They knew the likely spots where valu- 
ables would be buried, and the soldiers knew 
how to worm out secrets even from the most 
faithful black servants on the big estates. One 
reason why Georgia burns and hangs more 
Negroes than any other State is probably be- 
cause of the bitterness caused by the unstinted 
foraging and the "setting of the niggers against 
us 9 9 as they say. 

Be that as it may, the seeds of future hate are 
always sown in present wars, and " Sherman r s 
bummers' 9 in their quest of spoil took little heed 
of any future reckoning. The Negroes led the 
soldiers even to the deepest recesses of swamps 
or forests, and showed the hollow tree or cave 
or hole where lay deposited the precious family 
plate and jewelry and money and even clothing. 
It was common to take from the planter not only 
hams, flour, meal, yams, sorghum molasses, but 



158 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



above all things turkeys, so rare to-day along 
the line of Sherman 's march — 

How the turkeys gobbled which our commissaries found, 
How the sweet potatoes even started from the ground, 
When we were marching thro* Georgia! 

But the bummer did not stick at these. He 
would borrow grandfather's dress coat and hat 
surviving from the old colonial days, and his 
mate would array himself in grandmother's fin- 
ery, and so attired would drive their wagon back 
to camp, hailed by the jests of the whole army; 
and if they met an officer on the way they would 
cry out mirthfully the text of the army order — 
The army will forage liberally on the country. 

It is said that no forager would ever sell any 
of his loot, that indeed it was a point of honor 
not to sell. The veterans of the North must 
therefore preserve many interesting mementoes 
of the South. Both officers and men took many 
tokens. There used to be an amusing euphemism 
current in Sherman's army: it was — "A South- 
ern lady gave me that for saving her house from 
being burned" — and if anyone said, "That's a 
nice gold watch; where did you get it?" the sol- 
dier replied, "Oh, a Southern lady gave it to 
me," etc. 

The army made camp by three o'clock every 
day, and it was after three that most of the un- 
authorized foraging expeditions took place. 
They were gay afternoons spent in singing and 



TEAMPING TO THE SEA 159 



gambling, athletics and cock fighting. The 
South was found to be possessed of a wonder- 
ful race of fighting cocks. The enthusiasts of 
the sport rushed from farm yard to farm yard 
for astonished chanticleer, and having captured 
him fed him well and brought him up to a more 
martial type of life than that which in domesti- 
cated bliss he had enjoyed with his hens. Every 
company had its cock fighting tournament. Each 
regiment, each brigade, each division, and in- 
deed each corps, had its champion. The winners 
of many bloody frays were soon nicknamed 
"Bill Sherman" or "Johnny Logan," but the 
losing bird which began to fear to face its ad- 
versary would be hailed as Beauregard or Jeff 
Davis. The cock fight finals were of as great 
interest as the combat of the Eeds and "White 
Sox to-day, and perhaps more real. 

Besides game cocks each regiment had a 
great number of pets. These were mostly poor, 
homeless creatures on which the soldier had 
taken pity; dogs, singing birds, kids, who fol- 
lowed with the army and had the army's tender- 
ness lavished on them. 

So they went, marching and camping by old 
Louisville and the broad waters of the Ogeechee 
down to Millen. The old farmers say what an 
impressive sight it was to watch them go by on 
the Millen road with seemingly more wagons 
than men, with all the wagons bulging with spoil 
and drawn by well-fed horses and mules, with 



160 THE SOUL OF JOHN BEOWN 



long droves of cattle, and thousands of fren- 
zied Negroes so frantic with joy that they 
seemed to have lost their heads and to be ex- 
pecting the end of the world. 

Davisboro is a dust-swept settlement two 
sides of a road at the foot of a hill. Doors stand 
open, and the general stores in all their disor- 
der spread their wares. At one end of the little 
town a large gin is hard at work steaming and 
blowing, ravishing cotton seed from cotton fluff, 
and many bales are waiting. Louisville, the old 
capital, is a dozen miles further on beyond the 
woods and swamps of a sparsely settled coun- 
try. It is now "the slowest town in Georgia." 
It is, however, none the less pleasant for that. 

There are many old houses, and in the midst 
of the way stands the original wooden "Slave 
Market" built in 1758, according to a notice 
affixed, but now used as a fire station. In the old 
colonial days when Louisville was the capital, 
slaves used to be brought there in large batches 
on market days. There was a little platform on 
which the all-but-naked victims had to stand and 
be exhibited and auctioned. As I sat on a bench 
and considered the building a young townsman 
joined himself to me and gave me a gleeful de- 
scription of the slaves — "Their front teeth were 
filed, they spoke no English ; when they saw our 
big green grasshoppers they ran after them and 
caught them and ate them. The men wore loin 



TEAMPING TO THE SEA 161 



cloths and the women cotton chemises halfway 
to the knee. Lots of cows, hogs, mules, and nig- 
gers were put up and sold as cattle in a lump. 
Animals, that's all they were and all they are 
now " And he laughed in a curious, self- 
conscious way. 

"It is strange to think of the history of 
them," said I, "from the African wastes to the 
slave ship, from the slave ship to the harbors 
of the New "World, then to these market places 
and to the plantations, taught baby English and 
hymn-singing, obtaining the Bible as an only 
and all-comprehending book, petted and fondled 
like wonderful strays from the forest in many 
families, tortured in others, becoming eventu- 
ally a bone of fierce political contention though 
innocent themselves, the cause of a great war, 
and then released in that war and given the full 
rights of white American citizens. 9 9 

The young townsman's imagination was not 
touched by the romance of the Negro. He was 
full of the wrong done to the white South by 
putting it under the dominance of a free Negro 
majority. 

"You know we lynch them down here," said 
he, with a smile. "They want social equality, 
but they are not going to get it. The nigger 
can't progress any further." 

"Well, there's a vast difference between the 
Negro of 1860 and the Negro of to-day, ' ' said I. 
"Hundreds of universities and colleges have 



162 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



arisen, thousands of schools and Negro organi- 
zations for self-education. The Negro has gone 
a long way since in yelling crowds he followed 
the banners of Sherman. I do not think he is 
going to stop short, and I wonder where he is 
going to and where at last he will arrive. 99 

I passed through Eatonton, the birthplace of 
Joel Chandler Harris, on my way to the sea. He 
taught us much about the Negro. In England 
Brer Fox and Brer Babbit have become as cher- 
ished as the toys of the nursery. I think Uncle 
Remus meant as much to us as " Uncle Tom's 
Cabin. " The genial point of view and the genial 
books do as much to help humanity as the strong 
and bitter ones. Both certainly have their place. 
1 6 Uncle Tom's Cabin" stirred people out of a 
lazy attitude of mind toward the Negro slaves, 
but in America it aggravated a bitterness which 
no other book has been able to allay. The very 
intensity of the white man's thought about the 
Negro bodes ill for the future. The White men 
of the North deliberately have made the effort 
to rear a Negro intelligentsia. The idealists of 
the North said, "You shall go on"; others said, 
"No, you shall stay as you were"; the clash of 
the two wills lit up racial war, but the Negro has 
sided with the idealists who sought to raise him, 
with the Friends of Pennsylvania and the hu- 
manitarians of New England. 

In the panic of Sherman's approach the 
planters and their wives told their slaves that 



TEAMPING TO THE SEA 163 



the Yanks would flog them and burn them or 
put them in the front of the battle, and drown 
the women and children in the Ogeechee or the 
Chattahoochee. Many believed and fled with 
their masters ; others hid in the woods, but the 
rumor of salvation was on the lips of most. The 
Southerner has a saying, "The nigger is the 
greatest union in the country.' ' News indeed 
travels faster among slaves and servants than 
among employers and masters. There was not 
much hesitation when the army arrived. The 
Negroes saw and believed. The incredulous were 
converted and the scared persuaded out of their 
hiding places. All with one accord forgot their 
fear and then went to the other extreme ; that is, 
as far in credulity as their dull minds had 
lodged in incredulity. The arrival of the victors 
gave rise to the most extravagant hopes. The 
Negro had never reasoned about anything in an 
informed way. He knew nothing of the world 
except the simplicity of the plantation. He had 
on the one hand slavery, and on the other the 
vague and vast idealism of Christian hymns; 
the melancholy of bondage and the emotional- 
ism of Evangelical religion. He did not think of 
New York, London, Paris, St. Petersburg, of 
the workingmen's movement, of free thought, 
of political economy, but only of "de ole plan- 
tation, ' ' and then 1 6 de ribber. ' ' From drab slav- 
ery he looked straight to Jordan and the golden 
gates, and to a no-work, easy-going paradise 



164 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



happy as the day is long, with God as Massa, 
and Mary and the Son to play with. There were 
no between stages to which to aspire. They ex- 
pected, as did the Puritan churches about them, 
the huge combustion of the Last Day, and they 
did not set much store by this world. Hence 
their exalted state of mind following Sherman 's 
army. They were ready to shout Glory when 
the world was afire, and they displayed all the 
emotion which should have been saved for the 
coming of the Lord. 

At first Sherman's army was quite pleased, 
and encouraged the emotion of the freed men. 
But it got to be too much for the Yankee sol- 
diers, who felt at last that the Blacks were over- 
doing it and that in any case they were a nui- 
sance. The nearer they got to Savannah the 
more impatient did they become. At last they 
began to destroy bridges between themselves 
and the Negroes, and put rivers between them. 
Then, after leaving Millen for the pine forests 
of the Savannah shore, they deliberately de- 
stroyed the bridge over Ebenezer Creek. There 
was a wild panic, a stampede, and many, it is 
said, were drowned in the stream. The splen- 
dor of the army went by, the brass bands, 
the cheering and the singing of the soldiers 
and the standard bearers of the North in the 
midst of them, the wagons, the many wagons 
laden with spoil, and the droves of cattle. But 



TRAMPING TO THE SEA 165 



for Georgia and the Negro there set in the twi- 
light of ruin and disillusion. 

Eural Georgia is not very much better off to- 
day than it was in slavery days. The large tracts 
of land which the Blacks thought would be given 
them they neither could nor would farm. They 
lacked experience and initiative. They could 
be too easily deceived by their white neighbors, 
and were too subservient to their erstwhile mas- 
ters to make good in the race of human individ- 
uals striving one against another. 

"No Negroes own land hereabout/ 9 said some 
Negro renters to me between Shady Dale and 
Eatonton. "They did, but got into debt and lost 
it. We rent a thirty-acre farm and pay two bales 
of cotton rent." At the current price of cotton, 
38 cents a pound, that amounted to 380 dollars 
in American currency, or 95 pounds in British 
currency, but the tenants paid in cotton, and as 
cotton boomed their rents advanced. 

It seemed to be everywhere customary to 
reckon rent in cotton bales, and it is easy to see 
what an economic serf the Negro can become un- 
der such terms. This system, known as u truck' 9 
in England, was long since abolished, but its 
evils were so notorious that truck has remained 
a proverbial expression for chicane — hence the 
phrase ' t to have no truck with it. ' ' The Negro is 
bettei off as a laborer on a white man's planta- 
tion than he is when having the responsibility 



166 THE SOUL OF JOHN BEOWN 



of picking a crop for master before he picks one 
for himself. 

There are many features of life on the mod- 
ern plantation, be it of sugar or cotton, which 
suggest slavery. Virtual slavery is called peon- 
age and many examples were given me by 
Negroes. It is arranged in some places that the 
Negro handles as little money as possible. In- 
stead of money he has credit checks, metal or 
cardboard disks, which he can use at the general 
store to purchase his provisions. He is kept in 
debt so that he can never get out, and so lives 
with a halter round his neck. Especially dur- 
ing the war, when the rumor of war wages was 
tempting the colored labor of the South to mi- 
grate North in huge numbers, efforts were made 
to keep the Negro without the means of stray- 
ing from the locality where the labor of his 
hands was the foundation of the life of the com- 
munity. Other forms of peonage prevalent in 
rural parts is the commuting of punishment for 
forced labor, the hiring out of penal labor to 
companies or public authorities. This resem- 
bles the use made of prisoners during the re- 
cent world war, and is virtual slavery. 

All inroads made on the liberty of the subject 
might fittingly be classed as peonage — the de- 
nial of the vote to those legally enfranchised, 
intimidation by lynch law, etc. 

I talked with an old Negro after leaving Louis- 
ville and tramping south toward Midville. He 



TEAMPING TO THE SEA 167 



was lolling in rags on his porch — very near 
white. His father had been his black mother's 
white master. He remembered Sherman's pass- 
ing when he was a boy, A remarkably intelli- 
gent and tragic face, where an unhappy white 
man looked out on the misery of abject poverty 
and quasi-bondage. Cotton had proved bad this 
year. The boll weevil had entered the pod early. 
There were but three or four bales to the plow. 
He did not know how he'd foot his bills. The 
rations given him in the spring had become ex- 
hausted. He had also hoped to buy clothes. He 
said the traders came early in the year and sup- 
plied him with all sorts of things on the strength 
of a large cotton crop, and he pointed to a toy 
bicycle lying upside down in the grass. He let 
his little boy stride it, and mother thought it fine. 
Last year God had blessed them with a very 
fine crop, and why should He not be as kind this 
year? So he signed on for the toy bicycle and 
for a gramophone as well. Now he complained 
that they were cutting off his rations, mother 
lay ill a-bed, the weather was getting cold, and 
they had no clothes. The boss was coming pres- 
ently to turn them out of the cabin altogether, 
and they did not know where to go. Even while 
we were talking two bullet-headed young fel- 
lows, clean-shaven, frank, and surly, came up 
in an automobile, stopped short, and rated the 
old man from where they sat in the car. The 
cabin and the little cotton plantation belonged 



168 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



to them now, and the old fellow was reverting 

from small proprietor to be laborer on a planta- 
tion, and to be laborer was little better than to 
be slave. 

"We have to let down rope ladders to our 
people to get them up here," said a colored dean 
of a university to me. "We live in such abysses 
down below, and there is no regular way out of 
the pit." 

I felt as I was marching into Georgia as if I 
were descending the rope ladder. What a con- 
trast there was between the bright, radiant- 
faced girls at Atlanta studying science and lan- 
guages, and those whom I was meeting now. 
There was a regular sequence or gradation go- 
ing downward to filth and serfdom. The first 
bathed twice a day, and spent hours working 
"anti-kink' ' not only into their hair but into 
their souls and minds. They were fresh and fit 
and happy as morning itself. That was on the 
Atlanta heights. I stepped down to the world of 
business with its heavier, gloomier types, the 
hard-faced, skillful, and acquisitive doctors, the 
fire-delivering, shadowy-minded clergy, the ex- 
cited and eager yet heavy-footed politicians. I 
took the road and met the troubled landowners, 
pathetically happy to exist, though drowning in 
mortgage and debt; from them I passed to the 
farm laborers, with the jowl of the savage, 
matted hair, bent backs, deformed with joyless 
toil, exuding poisonous perspiration and foul 



TEAMPING TO THE SEA 169 



odor, herded like cattle or worse, nearer to the 
beast than our domestic animals, feared by 
women and weak men, as beasts are feared when 
they come in the likeness of human beings. 

There were, however, steps lower still in the 
ladder which leads downward from the Atlanta 
hills. Frequently along the road I saw men in 
yellow-striped overalls, plodding together, 
working together, overlooked by a white man 
with a gun, and as they walked sounded the piti- 
ful clank-clank of the chains. It is rather curi- 
ous, kandali in Siberia are an atrocity, but in 
sections of the United States they are quite 
natural. 

"We do not keep 'em in jail, but make 'em 
work," says the white man knowingly. "When 
there's much work to do on the roads we soon 
find the labor." At Springfield I remarked the 
terrible state of disrepair of the highway and 
public buildings. The reason was that instead 
of setting their criminals to work on them they 
handed them over to the State authorities. Other 
towns knew better. But in the chain gang and 
the striped convict so easily obtained at the 
courts the ex-slave was seen at his worst, and 
the rope ladder stopped short before touching 
bottom. 

There is not much to endear the ordinary 
wooden cabins in which the mass of America's 
black peasantry is found to live. They are 
poorer and barer than the worst you would see 



170 THE SOUL OF JOHN BEOTVX 



in Russia. Ex-serf has fared better than ex- 
slave. However, one detail of charm on this 
Georgian way was the putting up of tiny stars 
as a sign of boys serving in the army, a humble 
star of hope and glory like some tiny flower 
blossoming out of season in the wilds — one 
white star for a boy in the army, a golden one 
for a boy who had died. In their submerged 
way the Negroes were proud of having helped 
in the war. The glory, or the idea, or the par- 
rot cry of "making the world safe for democ- 
racy" had penetrated even into the most ob- 
scure abodes. The poor Xegro had discovered 
Europe at last, and was especially in love with 
one nation — the French. The South generally 
had not been very eager to see the Xegro in 
the war and has not reacted sympathetically to 
the black man's war glory. 

"There's no managing the neegahs now, 
they's got so biggety since the war," said a 
white woman at Shadydale. "Las' year we 
white people jus' had to pick the cotton usselves, 
men, women, and chillen." She told me she did 
not think it a bit nice of the French girls to 
walk out with Xegro soldiers, and then told a 
story of a French bride brought home by one 
of the white boys. She tittered. "Yes . . . she 
had twins soon af she came, and would you 
b'lieve it, they were neegahs. Of course he sent 
her right back." The French intimacy with the 
Xegro soldiers has cooled the Southerner's 



TKAMPING TO THE SEA 171 



regard for the best-loved nation of Europe. It 
has also stirred up the racial fear concerning 
Negroes and white women. Because the black 
soldier was a favorite of the white girls in 
France it is thought that his eye roves more 
readily to the pure womanhood of the South. 

Lynching seems often to be due to puritani- 
cal fervor, and is compatible with a type of 
religiosity. Mob feeling against love is very dan- 
gerous. A pastor kisses a girl of Eis congrega- 
tion, a deacon happens to see it, and his career 
is ended. An old man on the road volunteered 
the fact that he had never "sinned" with a 
woman, black or white, his whole life. Certainly 
there is a high standard of righteousness. Fam- 
ily life is pure, and love-making is not the chief 
interest in life as in some European countries. 
Men's minds are more on their business, and 
women's on their homes. I am tempted to think 
that if the white race which inhabits the South 
were French or Eussian or Polish or Greek 
there would be no lynchings. The great num- 
ber of mixed relationships would beget toler- 
ance for inter-racial attraction. I said to a 
young Floridan going through in his car — "I 
can well imagine a certain type of European 
women ogling the Negro, making eyes at him 
and luring him to his destruction. Have you 
ever come across such a type?" He answered 
"No, and if there were, we'd do away with her, 
too." 



172 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



Of course this rigidly moral point of view 
falls away when it is a matter of the white man 
and the black girl or the mulatto. The morality 
of the Negro woman was badly undermined in 
slavery days, when slave children were bred 
without any thought of sin or shame. But 
though the moral standard has been low, it is 
nothing like so low as it was. Pride of race has 
been born, and the moral purity of the colored 
woman as a whole is now comparatively higher. 
Certainly even in the country districts, where the 
Negro is nearest to his old state of being a chat- 
tel, there is a great decrease in the number of 
half-bred children. The solution of the racial 
problem by ultimate blending of color is not one 
which seems likely to succeed here in the course 
of nature. Black and White are far more sepa- 
rate and distinct in freedom than they were in 
slavery. Even the black mammy is dying out. 
There are not so many of that type of colored 
women. The white mother, moreover, has more 
scruple against giving her child away from her 
own breast. The Southern woman is as much 
against promiscuous relationships with Negro 
women as her manfolk is against the Negro's 
roving eyes. One woman said, "You can under- 
stand the fondness of our young men for some 
of the Negro girls when as babies they were 
suckled by a Negro woman." There is much 
psychological truth in that. 

During these weeks on the roads of Georgia 



TRAMPING TO THE SEA 173 



three Negroes were burned in my neighborhood, 
two near Savannah for supposed complicity in 
the murder of a deputy sheriff, and a mob of 
about a thousand white men took pleasure in the 
auto-da-fe. A short while later near Macon a 
Negro was accused of making love to a woman 
of fifty as she was coming home from church one 
Sunday evening. Some one certainly attacked 
her, though what was his object might be ques- 
tionable. The accused man fled for his life. He 
was captured at midnight by certain well-known 
citizens whose names were published in the 
press. The sheriff argued with a crowd of about 
four hundred in the public street for about art 
hour and a half, and then, like Pilate, washed his 
liands of the matter and let the mob have its 
way. Paul Brooker, the Negro, lay on the 
ground maltreated, but living; gasoline was 
poured over him, a lighted match was applied, 
and he was burned to death. This was not in 
Catholic Spain in the days of the Inquisition, 
but in religious Georgia, solid for "Wilson and 
the League of Nations. I was told I could not 
Understand why such things had to be done. No 
Englishman and no Northerner could ever pen- 
etrate the secret of it. That seemed to put me in 
the wrong when conversing with the Southern 
people. It was a curious fact, however, that they 
also for their part took no pains to understand 
how such things made the blood boil in the veins 
of one who lived elsewhere. It was not the exe- 



174 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



cution nor the crime but the cruelty that seemed 
to me unforgivable. I could understand killing 
the Negro, but I could not and would not care to 
understand the state of mind of the four hun- 
dred who enjoyed his torments. 

Burnings and hangings and mob violence of 
other kinds are frequent in most of the States 
of the South, but even in such cases where the 
names of citizens are given in the press no pros- 
ecution or inquiry seems to follow. Thus the 
great flag is flouted, and it is possible to imagine 
the cynical mirth with which the ecstasy of the 
Negroes following the Army of Liberation in 
1864 might be compared with the hilarity of the 
Southern mob in 1920 watching the ex-slave 
slowly burning to death on their accusation and 
yelling for mercy when there was no merciful 
ear to hear. 

I suppose nothing begets hate so readily as 
cruelty. That is why in all wars there is so 
much mongering of atrocities : one side tries to 
find out all the cruelties and barbarities com- 
mitted by the other just to stir up its own adher- 
ents. So in the Civil War all the brutalities of 
the slave owners were made known, and the 
Northern soldier's blood boiled because of 
them. Although the quarrel is now healed, there 
was, at the time, a deep hate of the Southerners 
in the war. It was not only a martial conflict but 
personal hatred and contempt. What was don.^ 



TRAMPING TO THE SEA 175 



to the Blacks was aggravated by what was done 
to the white prisoners. The North discovered a 
cruelty and callousness in the South which must 
have been a puzzle to those who reflected that 
they were of the same race. For Georgia is pre- 
dominantly English by extraction, and still 
proud, as I found, of grandfathers and great- 
grandfathers born in the old country. Some 
ascribe the change of temperament to the hot 
sun and to the southern latitude; more, to the 
brutalizing influences of slavery itself. 

When I was at Millen, which once in the glare 
of a burning railroad swarmed with Sherman's 
troopers, I went out to the old Southern battery 
at Lawton and saw the mounds and the fields 
where the pen of Northern prisoners was kept. 
It is waving with grass or corn to-day, and there 
is a beautiful crystal spring in the midst of 
serene, untroubled nature. Here the prisoners 
were concentrated in a space of ground three 
hundred feet square, enclosed in a stockade and 
without covering, exposed to all kinds of 
weather. When any escaped they were chased 
with bloodhounds. Some seven hundred and 
fifty died while in this concentration camp. No 
wonder a soldier of the time wrote: "It fevered 
the blood of our brave boys. . . . God certainly 
will visit the authors of all this crime with a ter- 
rible judgment.' 9 

Sherman's soldiers destroyed every hound 
they could find in Georgia as they passed 



176 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



through — so strongly did they resent the bar- 
barity of hunting men with dogs. For the South 
had learned to hunt runaway slaves with blood- 
hounds, and it was a type of hunting which gave 
a peculiar satisfaction to the lust of cruelty. 
What they learned in the maltreatment of their 
slaves they could put into practice against the 
prisoners they obtained. There again, however, 
the war has failed to bear fruit; for the hunt- 
ing of Negroes with bloodhounds has become 
common once more. 

The Northern soldiers did not become gentler 
to the Southern population as they advanced 
further into the depths of the country. Eather 
the reverse. They would have been even more 
destructive than before had they not found the 
country to be more and more sparsely settled. 
The march from Millen to Savannah would have 
resulted in the harshest treatment of the peo- 
ple, but happily the way lay through forests 
and through the uncultivated wildernesses of 
Nature herself. The army had only its prison- 
ers to vent its displeasure upon, and they cer- 
tainly did not pet the few hundred Confederate 
soldiers and "civilian personages' ' whom they 
had collected in bondage. The enemy was found 
to have mined the road at one point. An officer 
of the Union Army had his leg blown off. Eight- 
inch shells had been buried in the sand with fric- 
tion matches to explode them when trod on. 
Sherman was very angry, and called it murder, 



TRAMPING TO THE SEA 177 



not war, in a way which reminds one of the in- 
dignation caused when in the late war the Ger- 
mans started anything novel. The answer to 
this mining of the road was to make the rebel 
prisoners march ahead of the column in close 
formation so as to explode any more which 
might be laid on the way. They were greatly 
afraid, and begged hard to be let off — much to 
the mirth of the supposed victims. It was not 
until nearing one of the forts of Savannah that 
another mine exploded — the hurt done to the 
prisoners remains unrecorded. 

The way is eastward to Sylvania and the 
Savannah River, and then south to the rice fields 
and the harbor. The road is deep in sand, and 
on each side is uncleared country with high yel- 
low reeds below and lofty pines above. Persim- 
mons, ripe and yellow, grow by the wayside, a 
luscious fruit, good when just rotten and full of 
softness and sun heat. Large bird-like butter- 
flies gracefully flitting down the long corridors 
between the pines, and myriads of jumping 
mantises and grasshoppers suggest that it is 
not November. The golden foliage of an occa- 
sional beech reminds you that it is. The woods 
are deep and gloomy and melancholy. A poorer 
population lives by pitch-boiling and lumbering. 
Every pine tree is bearded with lichen. Moss 
hangs in long festoons from the branches. The 
great dark trunks are here and there silvered 



178 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



with congealed floods of sap. Trenches two 
inches deep have been cut in the wood, and tin 
gutters and pots have been fixed up to collect 
the resin. Every other tree has a brown pot 
tied to it, and each pot is half full of the pearly 
liquid life of the trees. You emerge from the 
forest to the pretty clearing of Rincom with a 
Lutheran church which has a metal swan above 
the spire — symbol of the fact that the first con- 
gregation, the one that built the church, had 
come across the water from Europe. Six miles 
from Rincom is the oldest church in all this part 
of Georgia, the Ebenezer Chapel, founded by 
those first German settlers who sailed up the 
Savannah River, and in part founded the colony 
of Georgia. It also is a church of the swan. The 
forest is very dense, and Negroes with shotguns 
are potting at wild birds from the highway. 
Wayside cottages and churches seem almost 
overcome with the tillandsia, a subtropical 
mossy growth that seems to grow downward 
rather than upward. There is a slight clearing 
and a cemetery in the depth of the forest, and 
the hundreds of pines and cypresses and oaks 
about it are weeping with this hanging moss. 
The county is that of Effingham. Springfield, 
the capital, without electric light, deep in yel- 
low sand, with a great public square where all 
the many trees look like weeping willows be- 
cause of this gray-green tillandsia hair trailing 
and waving ten or twenty feet to a tress, is an 



TRAMPING TO THE SEA 179 



obscure town. Guideposts for Florida begin to 
appear, and heavy touring fears roll past on the 
way to Miami and Palm Beach. There are some 
charming wooden chnrches — the Negro ones 
being poorer, looking better sacrifices unto God 
than those of the Whites. But above the counter 
in the chief store is written 

In God we trust, 
All others pay cash. 

The sound of the axe clashes in the woods. 
There are many fallen trunks on which it is pos- 
sible to sit down and rest. Sea mist rolls in from 
the Atlantic, and warm airs push through it, 
feeding the marvelous tropical mosses. It's a 
long way to Savannah — distance seems to be 
intensified by the narrowness of the gray cor- 
ridor of the road through the vast, high forest. 
There rises from the obstructed earth black oak 
and sterile vine and palmettoes like ladies' 
hands with opened fans. The surface whence 
the forest grows is swampy, old, lichened, 
mossy, springy. It's hard to find solid earth, 
so many branches seem to be overgrown with 
verdure and moss. In the heat long snakes glide 
away from your approach, having seen you be- 
fore you saw them. And rat, rat, rat, the red- 
polled woodpeckers in their tree-top cities call 
upon one another and seek their insect lunch- 
eons and then flit home and knock again. The 
white people speak a "nigger brogue" which is 



180 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



almost indislinguisHable from Negro talk, and 
they never pronounce an r. The Negro seems 
very poor and illiterate and afraid. 4 4 Hear 
comes the OLD RELIABLE FRIND with the 
LIFT of CHRIST" says a notice on an old 
wooden church of colored folk. 

I am overtaken by a Negro with a wagon and 
twelve bales of cotton, and though he seems try- 
ing to race a huge touring car "heading for 
Florida" with trunks on top and whole family 
within, he slows down to pick me up. His is an 
enormous lorry, ponderous and ramshackle, 
shaking the bones out of your body as it takes 
you along. The Negro boy held the steering 
wheel nonchalantly with one hand and blun- 
dered along at top speed. After ten miles of 
this we entered one of the vast cotton ware- 
houses outside Savannah, passed the gateman 
vrho would not have let me in but he thought I 
was in charge, and we saw where a hundred 
thousand bales were being housed and kept. 
Scores of Negroes were at work manipulating 
bales on trolley trains run by petrol engines all 
over the asphalted way, and from shed to shed. 

"Are you shipping much cotton?" I asked of 
a white man who was giving us a receipt for the 
cotton brought in, while a dozen husky fellows 
were unloading the wagon. "Not much," said 
he. "Holding for better prices," he added, and 
smiled knowingly. 

Then with the empty wagon we rolled off for 



TRAMPING TO THE SEA 181 



Savannah, and the boy driver told me he was 
going to work his passage soon on a ship from 
Savannah to New York. ' ' We don't get a chance 
down here." 

And yet how much better off was he with his 
wagon, and union wages, and life in a large city 
than the poor ex-slave, on the land I 

While unlading, it had become dark. But an 
hour more through the forest brought us to the 
outlying slums of Savannah, and then to the 
"red-light district' 9 where were music and 
dancing, and open doors and windows, and the 
red glow of the lamp luring colored youth to 
lowest pleasures ; then to the grandeur and spa- 
ciousness of modern Savannah, and the white 
man's civilization, up out of Georgia, up out of 
the pit, through the veil of the forest and of 
Nature to the serene heights of world civiliza- 
tion once more. 



VII 



AFTER THE WAR : THE VOTE 

The march to the sea, like John Brown's 
soul marching to eternity, was a moving sym- 
bol of the faith of the war. Men saw in it the 
march of the cause of humanity as a whole. 
Sherman offered Savannah as a Christmas gift 
to Abraham Lincoln, and the star of Bethle- 
hem shone anew over a ravaged land and rav- 
aged hearts. The news when it came was a sig- 
nal for great popular rejoicing and a prophetic 
belief in the end of the war. Four months after- 
ward there was a general capitulation of the 
South. It is true America's most innocent and 
Christian man was destroyed by hate — another 
Golgotha day in history, when on Good Friday 
in a theatre in Washington Lincoln was 
assassinated — but the fight had been fought 
and the victory won. It became possible to rat- 
ify the abolition of slavery by the re-establish- 
ment of the Union and the common consent of 
all the States. 

1 1 In Sixty Three the slaves were free; In 
Sixty Four the war was o'er," says a rhyme, 
but in truth the Negroes were not free in the 
South till the South had been conquered by the 

182 



AFTER THE WAR: THE VOTE 183 



United States, and the war was not o'er till 
April, 1865. It was on the 24th of May, 1865, 
that the army marched past the White House 
in its final grand review, bearing aloft its battle- 
riven flags festooned with flowers. There was 
glory in the North ; the twilight of confusion in 
the South; and the Negroes were free. Peace 
came once more, though not peace in men's 
hearts. War hate still bred hate, and the lust 
of cruelty called into being its monster prog- 
eny of revenge. 

The fanatic who murdered Lincoln in doing 
so struck the whole of his own people. The 
planters who burned the runaway slaves, the 
soldiers who during the war put to death the 
Negro prisoners who fell into their hands, the 
actions generally of the embittered, brought the 
calamity of retaliatory spite not only upon 
themselves but upon the innocent and the just 
and the kind. A policy of punishment and not 
of reconciliation ruled at Washington, and the 
white South suffered. The Negroes and the 
Negro cause suffered also. The ex-slaves were 
given votes and put on an electoral equality 
with white men. This was a palpable injus- 
tice and indignity. The Negroes in 1863 were 
not prepared in mind or in soul or in knowledge 
for the exercise of the franchise. Neither were 
they gifted with the power of will and physi- 
cal strength necessary to hold the suffrage 
when it was given them. There was the same 



184 THE SOUL OF JOHN BKOWN 



exaltation nationally when tlie victory was won 
as there had been locally when Sherman 
marched through, and the same disillusion and 
the same destruction of bridges was to take 
place also. Where the white man went the black 
man could not follow. For a brief space of 
time the ex-slave dominated the white South. 
The black vote was exploited by political char- 
latans ; Negroes did not vote, they were voted, 
and then a way was made out of injustice to 
put the white man and ex-master of slaves in 
the right again. For wrong though the South 
had been, the war should still have left the edu- 
cated white man in authority and not put him 
under the heel of the illiterate. The poor slaves 
just freed, but not educated, not blown upon by 
the winds of culture, not sunned in America's 
bright moral sun, were in no position to vote 
upon America's destiny or to take a directing 
hand in her affairs. As is usual after a war, 
the victors wanted a revolution in the land 
where they had won. The white North revenged 
itself on the white South. But a black revolu- 
tion was a thing that could not be. Eacial in- 
stinct came to the help of the Whites, and 
through general tacit understandings and or- 
ganized conspiracies the new black masters 
were ousted from their places. Then fear of 
what might be, and once more, revenge born 
of the brief black dominion, went as far the 
other way in injustice. Nigger baiting arose, 



AFTER THE WAR: THE VOTE 185 



mob violence took the place of the justice of the 
courts. The central authority was flouted, first 
covertly and then openly. The Negro was hus- 
tled back to peonage and servility, and one 
might be tempted to think that the cause for 
which all the blood of the Civil War had been 
shed was lost. It would have been lost had not 
slavery become a complete anachronism in 
world society. The yoke could not be reim- 
posed upon the Negro 's neck. His freedom has 
persisted, it has grown. 

The maximum of persecution of the Negro in 
recent years does not equal the misery of slav- 
ery. Even if all the lynchings and burnings 
and humiliations and disabilities be put to- 
gether they do not add up to one year of servi- 
tude. Most Negroes understand that. They 
know that no matter what may be the vicissi- 
tudes they pass through they are still progres- 
sing to an ever fuller freedom. 

In viewing the whole situation one is apt to 
underestimate the unhappiness of slavery and 
to magnify the unhappiness of the present era 
of freedom. It is blessed to be free. Even to be 
the worst possible peon is far removed from 
slavery. The great significance of the Emanci- 
pation is that the Negro slaves were set free- 
free for anything and everything in the wide 
world. In the prison house of a national insti- 
tution of slavery there was no hope, no sense 
of the ultimate possibilities latent in a man. 



186 THE SOUL OF JOHN BEOWN 



But with freedom every baby became a poten- 
tial Alexander. 

In 1863 a new life began to germinate, began 
to have promise. Some thought that it must 
show forth at once. But that was fallacious. It 
was bound to spend a long time underground 
before the first modest shoots of the new should 
appear. Many have argued that the Negro 
would come to nothing in his freedom, and even 
those who have believed in his destiny have 
been impatient. Premature greetings have 
been given time and oft to new Negro culture 
and responsibility. The only criticism made 
here is that they were premature. The greatest 
of these was the suffrage. 

I have said that the denial of the Negro his 
legitimate vote is a part of peonage, and I have 
also said that it was wrong to give the freed- 
men votes at once. I should like to explain how 
Negro suffrage stands to-day. 

In the first place, it was wrong to enfranchise 
the ex-slaves, not because they were not entitled 
to votes, but because they were not ready to be 
intrusted with votes. In 1863 in England as well 
as in America the world could be saved by the 
ballot box alone. It was a rebellion against this 
belief that caused Carlyle to fulminate against 
4 * Nigger Democracy.' ' In talking with Dean 
Brawley of Morehouse College at Atlanta, I 
noticed a prejudice against Carlyle which is 
very widespread among educated colored peo- 



AFTER THE WAR: THE VOTE 187 



pie. In the first place I should like to assure 
them that the use by Carlyle of the expression 
"nigger" has nothing in common with the bru- 
tal and contemptuous sense in which that word 
is used in America. Thus we say "working like 
a nigger/' an expression derived from the life 
of the slaves; "nigger diploma," a contemptu- 
ous English expression Tor a high degree such 
as Doctor of Literature or Doctor of Divinity, 
thought to have been purchased in America at 
a Negro university; the ten little nigger boys, 
the black boys who come m swiftly to bad 
ends in the familiar rhyme of our childhood 
"Nigger" is in England a playful word for a 
Negro, and is used always in the nursery. It is 
the children's word for a black man, prefer- 
ably for one who has been thoroughly blacked. 
Carlyle was one of the most reverent of men, 
and not accustomed to speak contemptuously 
of God's creatures. But he was contempt- 
uous of the suff rage. To him and to Ruskin and 
to many another it seemeci absurd that the 
voice of the educated man and the illiterate 
should have the same value ; that the many who 
are dull and ignorant should be allowed to out- 
vote the few who know. The enfranchisement 
of the freed Negroes furnished Carlyle with an 
example of carrying an absurdity to its logical 
conclusion. 

The alternative to government by ballot has, 
however, proved to be government by the domi- 



188 THE SOUL OF JOHN BEOWN 

nation of a military caste, and mankind gener- 
ally in our time has shown that it prefers the 
former. The ballot box with all its absurdity 
seems nevertheless our only means of carrying 
on in freedom. It would be wrong to grant the 
suffrage to the millions of savages under Brit- 
ish rule in Africa, because they could not use 
it. And it was wrong to enfranchise Negrodom 
in America with a stroke of the pen after the 
Civil War. It has done the Negroes more harm 
than good. 

To have such a grievance as to be legally en- 
franchised and yet physically denied the use of 
the vote is, of course, great harm. It affects 
the social mind. It makes bitterness and brews 
agitation. To be conscripted and called upon to 
fight for the country when this grievance is 
in mind has aggravated the harm already done. 
"We are not too low to fight the foe, but we're 
too low to share in the spoil," as the story goes. 
I heard a Negro comedian indulging in funni- 
osities at a colored music hall win great 
applause by a chansonette: 

Cullud folk will be ready to fight 
When cullud folk has equal right. 
I a'nt so foolish as I seem to he. 

And it is a reasonable sentiment. 

The fact is, Negrodom has to a great extent 
qualified to vote. Half the population is sunk 
in economic bondage and illiteracy, but the 



AFTER THE WAR: THE VOTE 189 



other half has more than average capacity for 
citizenship. Yet in spite of the Constitution and 
the Federal authority these many millions re- 
main practically without voice in all the South- 
ern States. Physical force, is exerted to keep 
them from the ballot box. 

The Southerner affects to believe that the 
educated Negro is even less fitted to have a 
vote than the illiterate sort. But that is because 
he hates to see the Negro rise. He will tell you 
that in certain States the Negroes outnumber 
the Whites by ten to one. But that is a charac- 
teristic misstatement. It is hard to find a city 
where the black vote exceeds the white. In 
the last census the blackest cities were Bir- 
mingham and Memphis, where the Negroes 
proved to be forty per cent, of the population, 
while in 



Richmond it was 37% 

Atlanta 34% 

Nashville 34% 

Washington 29% 

New Orleans 27% 



And there are only two States where the 
Negro population exceeds that of the White; 
namely, Mississippi and South Carolina, where 
the Negroes were 57 per cent, and 55 per cent, 
of the total population. 

If, as seems only fair, an illiteracy test were 
made legal by amendment of the Constitution, 



190 THE SOUL OF JOHN BEOWN 



white voters would outnumber black by a large 

margin. 

As for having anything to fear from the edu- 
cated Negro vote, there is of course one matter 
of anxiety. The Negro would be bound to fight 
for social justice, and violence would be done 
to racial prejudice. 

The South is, however, determined that the 
Negro shall never vote again. Year by year the 
colored people as a whole grow in intelligence, 
in capacity, and in the number of its intelli- 
gentsia, but the South is not moved. It sees no 
explosion in the future, and makes no provision 
for one — will not, till the explosion comes. 

Racial fear, no doubt, plays a large part in 
this determination, but there is a further con- 
sideration. The Solid South votes Democratic 
to a man. The Negro, if he had a chance, would 
vote as solidly Eepublican. I remember being 
present at a violent quarrel at a Negro meeting 
in New Orleans — one Negro, though he had not 
a vote, had actually called himself a Democrat. 
A remedying of the defective suffrage would be 
an enormous access of strength to the Repub- 
lican party. For this reason Democrats exag- 
gerate their racial fear. And also for that rea- 
son every Republican politician who gaina 
power is bound to make a bid to break the solid 
South. Senator Lodge himself was the author 
of a 1 1 Force Bill" which came near enactment 
some years ago, and it would have placed Fed- 



AFTER THE WAR: THE VOTE 191 



eral soldiers at every ballot box in the South, 
to protect black voters. 

The South defies anything which the Federal 
Government may devise. As Senator Lamar, 
of Mississippi, said to his colleagues in the 
Senate : 

1 1 But there is one issue upon which the South 
is solid, and upon which she will remain solid — • 
the protection of her civilization from subjec- 
tion to an ignorant and servile race. And 
neither Federal honors nor Federal bayonets 
can shake that solidity.' ' 

President Wilson's administration has been 
one which was dominated by Southern Demo- 
crats, and as the Southern vote has been be- 
hind him and them, there could hardly be any 
help given to the Negroes. The Democratic 
failure has nevertheless been a real disappoint- 
ment. Wilson's radical idealism; his plunge to 
the root of trouble wherever trouble was, led 
many to believe that he would do something to 
remedy the pitiable state of the Negroes. Some 
legal palliative would come with a better grace 
from Democrats than a forceful measure en- 
acted over their heads by Republicans. Per- 
haps with the downfall of the Democratic party 
and the coming triumph of the Republicans 
something practical will be done during the 
next few years to help the Negro. The main 
hope of color must lie in a Republican Presi- 
dent and a Republican Senate being in power 



192 THE SOUL OF JOHN BKOWN 



together. November, 1920, and its elections will 
be as fateful for the Negro as for the world. 

Roosevelt gave his party a generous lead 
when he received Booker T. Washington at the 
White House, and I heard young Colonel 
Roosevelt one evening, with his father's nerve 
and pluck, promise a vast Negro audience a 
"square deal" if they would have patience. 
That square deal is the Negro's right, espe- 
cially in the matter of the vote. It is strange 
that the movement for the "rights of man" in- 
augurated practically in the French Revolu- 
tion should have stopped short about 1870, and 
the contrary ideal of the "privilege of individ- 
uals" begun to progress. As Sutton Griggs 
very forcefully put it in his address to the 
National Baptist Convention at Newark, New 
Jersey : 

"In 1792 a motion was carried in the English. 
House of Commons providing for the gradual 
abolition of the slave traffic. In 1794 the 
French Convention decreed that the rights of 
French citizens should be granted to all slaves 
in French colonies. In 1834 the British abol- 
ished slavery entirely within their dominions. 
In 1848 French slaves were emancipated. In 
1863 the Dutch set their slaves free. The South, 
unmoved by world thought, clung to its slaves, 
but they were violently torn from her grasp in 
the Civil War. Under the impulse of the doc- 
trine of the native equality of all men the 



AFTER THE WAR: THE VOTE 193 



Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the 
United States, forbidding the denial of the 
right to vote because of race, color, or previ- 
ous condition of servitude, was adopted in the 
year 1869. In the year 1870, bills were passed by 
Congress providing fines and imprisonment for 
anyone who even tried to prevent the Negro 
from voting or to keep his vote from being 
counted. 

"But all of the forces that could be mar- 
shaled have not, up to the present time, been 
able to move our nation or the world one inch 
forward in a straight line from this point. The 
action just mentioned stands as the last re- 
corded national act designed to incorporate the 
Negro race in the governmental structure with- 
out reservations. Further efforts were made 
by powerful forces, but all have proved to be 
abortive. In 1875 a very comprehensive bill in- 
tended to make the Negroes of the South 
secure in their rights passed the lower house of 
Congress but was defeated in the Senate. Some 
years later, the Lodge Election Bill, having 
the same purpose, passed the House but was 
defeated in the Senate. The Republican party's 
platform, upon which President Taft was 
elected, contained an unequivocal declaration 
in favor of enforcing the Fifteenth Amend- 
ment in letter and in spirit, but no legislation 
in that direction was attempted during his term 
of office." 



194 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



To-day, however, a world war and the great- 
est affirmation of the rights of nations if not 

of man, has been made. There is an opportu- 
nity to resume the interrupted advance. 



vm 



IN ALABAMA: COLOR AND COLOR 
PREJUDICE 

I made an expedition into Alabama from 
Atlanta, and again saw something of that State 
when I got down to the Gulf of Mexico. In the 
matter of Negro life it is first of all important 
because of Tuskegee Institute, which, like the 
college at Hampton, is sometimes called the 
Mecca of the American Negro. It was founded 
by Booker T. Washington, and is the visible 
expression of the self-help idea. There, as at 
Hampton, the ex-slave is taught to do some- 
thing as the end of his schooling. The estab- 
lishment is now under the guidance of the be- 
loved Dr. Moton, a wise and genial African 
giant of pure Negro extraction: his father is 
said to have been a prince who in selling his 
captives was himself lured on to a slaver, and 
suddenly found himself in the position of his 
own captive enemies. This was during Civil 
War time, and he came to America a slave but 
to be made free. As a boy barely able to sign 
his name young Moton first appeared at Hamp- 
ton, and the authorities were at first doubtful 
about accepting him as a student. But what 
they would have missed! Dr. Moton is the 
very best type of Negro teacher, the worthy 



195 



196 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



successor of Booker Washington. Tnskegee, 
besides its educational work, does much to com- 
bat race hatred, and keeps public opinion in 
America well informed on the lynchings that 
take place. The presence of the institute in the 
backward State of Alabama is very important 
for the future of the South. 

At Birmingham, Alabama, I was presented to 
a very charming young widow who had been left 
rather rich, a well-educated lady of leisure, who 
lived well and dressed well, and was possessed 
of a recognizable American chic. I met her in 
town, and then in response to an invitation 
called on her at her house. She was certainly 
a Negro beauty, and I have no doubt was highly 
desired in marriage. There was a clear five 
thousand a year besides her charms, and it was 
impossible not to feel some of the glamour of 
that fact — 

The belle of the season is wasting 
an hour upon you. 

Mmmmmm she cooed to everything I said. She 
was shy as a pedestal without its statue; her 
eyes burned, and I could not help feeling all 
the atmosphere of " romance.' ' If she had been 
a shade lighter in complexion any white man 
might have fallen in love with her. 

Her children — or was it the children of one of 
her black servants ? — were playing with a family 
of real Negro dolls, not "nigger dolls," the 
stove black, red-lipped nigger of the nursery, 



IN ALABAMA 



197 



but colored dolls, after Nature. This was very 
charming, and I should have liked to see a baby 
woolly head at the swelling bosom of my beau- 
tiful acquaintance. She would have made a de- 
lightful study for a black Madonna. 

To have their own dolls is one of the new 
racial triumphs of the colored people in Amer- 
ica. Formerly they had to put up with the pink 
and white darlings with yellow hair and pale 
blue eyes, those reflections of German babies, 
which have hitherto held the market of dolls. 
It has taken the Negroes half a century of free- 
dom before it occurred to them that the doll, 
being the promise of baby-to-be, it was not 
entirely good for morals, and for black racial 
pride, that their little girls should love white 
dollies. Perhaps it was mooted first as a busi- 
ness proposition. It might be a paying enter- 
prise to manufacture real colored folk's dolls, 
brown dolls, mulatto dolls, near white dolls, 
black and kinky ones, sad or pretty ones. The 
year 1920 sees a lively doll industry in prog- 
ress. It is believed that in time the white dolly 
will become a rarity in the Negro home. Whence 
children may learn a lesson: Your pet doll 
would not perhaps be another girl's pet doll. 

It was also at Southern Brum that, calling on 
Reverend Williams, I happened upon this sin- 
gular conversation : 

"Now, isn't it absurd for us to have white 
angels?" 



198 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



"You surely would not like them black ?" 

"We give Sunday-school cards to our chil- 
dren with white angels on them. It's wrong." 

"Black angels would be ugly." 

"No more ugly than white." 

I thought the whiteness of the angels was as 
the whiteness of white light which contained all 
color. That, however, was lost on the rever- 
end, who happened to be a realist. 

"Christ himself was not white. He would 
have had to travel in a Jim Crow car," said 
he. "But put it to yourself: isn't it absurd for 
us to be taught that the good are all white, and 
that sin itself is black?" 

"It does seem to leave you in the shade," 
said L 

"Expressions such as 'black as sin' ought to 
be deleted from the language. One might as well 
say ' white as sin.' " 

I ransacked my brain rapidly. 

"We say 'pale as envy,' " said I. 

" 'Black spite,' " he retorted. "Why should 
it be black?" 

I could not say. 

"Then Adam and Eve in the Garden," he 

went on, "are always shown as beautifully 
white creatures, whereas, considering the cli- 
mate, they may well have been as dark-skinned 
as any Negro couple in Alabama. Babylon 
was built by Negroes." 

"Would you have Adam and Eve painted 
black?" 



IN ALABAMA 



199 



6 6 Why, yes, I would." 

This struck me as rather diverting, but it was 
quite serious. Later, in New York one night 
at Liberty Hall, before I was driven out as a 
white interloper, I heard an orator say to an 
admiring host of Negroes : " Why, I ask you, is 
God always shown as white? It is because He 
is the white man's God. It is the God of our 
masters. (Yes, brothers, that's it.) It's the God 
of these who persecute and despise the colored 
people. Brothers, we 've got to knock that white 
God down and put up a black God. We've got 
to rewrite the Old Testament and the New from 
a black man's point of view. Our theologians 
must get busy on a black God." 

This was what we Whites call clap trap, and 
irreverent as well. But it seemed to take well 
with the Harlem brothers. Once more a lesson 

may be derived for older children If you 

make God in your own image, it does not fol- 
low that other children will agree that it is 
like 

It reminded me of the enthusiasm of the sol- 
diers when they got home from the war and 
took a good look at their own womenMnd ; they 
thought them so much more good looking than 
French or German girls. Girls and dolls, angels 
and Gods, we like them to correspond to our 
own complexion. 

Birmingham at night glows to the sky with 
furnaces. A hundred thousand black proletari- 
ans earn their living on coal and steel, stirring 



200 THE SOUL OF JOHN BKOWN 



up soot to heaven. Though I met there the 

charming Mrs. J , whom I have mentioned, 

and also other educated Negroes, it is not to be 
supposed that it is a place of culture, white or 
black. It is a straggling city with an ugly, mis- 
shapen, ill-balanced interior or center part like 
a table spread with small teacups and large 
jam pots. It will not stand comparison with 
Atlanta or New Orleans or Eichmond. Strictly 
speaking, it is not a city, but an agglomeration 
of industrialism. Nevertheless, the factories 
which surround it are owned by companies of 
vast resources, and it is claimed that in the steel 
industry there are some of the most extensive 
industrial plants in the world. Business is little 
disturbed by strikes. On the gates of the vast 
factory estates is written: We do not want you 
unless you are able to look after yourself. Care- 
less men are alivays liable to accident. Some 
notices declare "Non-Union Shops,' 9 others 
"Open Shops,' } but it does not seem to matter 
much. The unions have little power. Wages are 
high, though not as high as in the North, but 
the cost of living is very much less, and there is 
a lower standard of respectability. In some 
cases the industrials are housed on the factory 
grounds, and you see Negro dwellings which 
amount to industrial barracks. Every gate has 
its porter or civilian sentry, and in order to 
reach your workingman you may have to show 
what your business is with him. On the way to 



IN ALABAMA 



201 



his door you are met by the notice that tres- 
passers will be prosecuted. 

There is no encouragement to loiterers, but 
you may see the Negro gangs at work, organized 
squads of workers hard at it, with Negro fore- 
men or white foremen. A myriad-fold Negro in- 
dustrialism straggles near mines and furnaces, 
blacker than in Nature. The coaly black Negro 
collier, the sooted face of steel worker and tar 
operative are curious comments on whether it 
is good to be Black or to be White. Coke prod- 
ucts flame and smoke at innumerable pipes, 
while locomotives are panting and steaming 
forward and back, and a platoon of chimney 
stacks belches forth dense blackness, which, 
enfolded in the breeze, wanders over the heav- 
ens and one's eyes. 

I strayed in at the doors of some very dirty 
Negro houses. Here was little of the amour 
propre of Baltimore and Philadelphia. Anti- 
kink was not being generally applied, and as 
far as the little ones were concerned, mother's 
little Alabama coon seemed to be getting a little 
bit too much for mother. It is not difficult to 
understand the disgust of people in the North 
when in 1917 and 1918 Negro families rolled up 
in their thousands from the South — the real 
obscure, fuzzy-wuzzy, large-featured, smelly 
Negro of submerged Alabama. The sight of 
them was responsible for much of the feeling 
which inspired the Northern riots. "We know 



202 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



our Northern Negroes," they said in the North, 
"but these from 'the South were like no Negroes 
we had ever seen." There was awakened much 
prejudice against these uncouth Africans, who 
seemed so near to the savage and the beast. It 
was natural, perhaps. But high wages and new 
hopes and ideals quickly improve the black im- 
migrant. He is being absorbed into the gener- 
ality of black Negrodom, in its established 
worthiness and respectability, above the Mason- 
Dixon line. It would be difficult after a few 
years to pick out a Southern Negro in a crowd 
in New York. 

The little black children in the suburbs of Bir- 
mingham were alternately very confiding and 
then suddenly scared and then confiding again 
as I tried to talk to them. There was much fear 
in their bodies. They seemed if anything to be 
blacker than their parents, and I volunteered 
the opinion that a good deal of their color would 
come off in a course of hot baths. But washing 
facilities were of a rudimentary kind, and the 
passion for being fit and fresh could not readily 
be developed. 

The white South could improve its Negroes 
infinitely if it cared to do so. On the whole, 
however, it does not wish its Negroes to rise 
and seems most happy when they can readily 
be identified with the beasts that perish. But 
if it thought more highly of the Negro, the 
Negro would rise, 



IN ALABAMA 



203 



I visited Professor K in his three-storied 

house. He had been one of the Negro Four- 
Minute Men who had made popular addresses 
to his people during the war fervor, inducing 
them to be "patriotic" and subscribe their dol- 
lars to various funds. He said he was deeply 
discouraged. He did not belong to Alabama 
and would much rather live in a more civilized 
part of the world, but he gave his life for the 
uplift of the children. He was doing what he 
could, but the Whites gave no co-operation. In 
these factory areas the colored children outnum- 
bered the Whites five to one. Teaching was, of 
course, segregated; he had no objection to that, 
but very, very little was done by comparison 
for the black children. They had most need of 
blessing — but they shared only in parsimony 
and curses. He showed me his school — a 
ramshackle building of old, faded wood. "Oh, 
but our teachers have enthusiasm," said he. 
"They're doing a work of God, and they love 
it. Yes, sir." 

I obtained an impression which I think is 
sound, that there was more keenness to teach 
on the part of the colored people of Alabama 
than on the part of the Whites. White schools 
find some difficulty in obtaining good teachers ; 
colored schools find no such difficulty. If col- 
ored students only go on in the way they have 
begun, there is quite a good prospect of their 
obtaining posts to teach white children in white 



204 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROTVX 



schools — not perhaps soon in Alabama, for it 
is strongly prejudiced, but elsewhere first, and 
then in this State. To start off with, they would 
be excellent with young children. There is a 
broad road of conquest standing open there. As 
Booker T. Washington very sagaciously pointed 
out to his people, there is no stronger argument 
in their favor than personal attainment. 

However, looking around the houses of the 
industrialized masses here, one can only be ap- 
palled at the inadequacy of civilization. There 
is nothing that is better than in the forlorn 
mining villages of the Eussian Ural. It makes 
a sort of Xegro little better than a nigger, and 
it is surprising that he does not run amuck more 
often than he does. 

If the outlying settlements reminded of the 
Ural, the center of the city reminded of nothing 
better than Omsk. Here on the main street, at 
Eighteenth Street, is a very 1 6 jazzy' p corner, 
resplendent with five times too much light at 
night, vocal with noisy music, and swanning 
with Negroes of all castes and colors. By day it 
is like a web of gregarious larvae; by night it 
is the entrance to wonderland. Here is massed 
together the Xegro enterprise of the city. Most 
of the characters of Octavus Eoy Cohen's clever 
Xegro stories are thought to be derived from 
this corner — Mr. Florian Slappey, Lawyer 
Evans Chew, and the rest. Do not their ways 
and doings divert a vast number of readers to 



IN ALABAMA 



205 



the Saturday Evening Post? I may have met 
some of them. I cannot say. But I met their 
like. 

The chief establishment is the savings bank 
building, a squat, six-story erection in red brick. 
It is flanked by places of amusement, but in 
itself it is an ark of professionalism and learn- 
ing. It is a hive of many cells or cabinets, and 
every cabinet has its special occupant, a doctor 
here, a dentist there, a lawyer in the other, 
another doctor, a professor, an agent, and so 
on. You may meet nearly all who count in Bir- 
mingham Negrodom here. By the way, the 
local way of pronouncing the name of the city 
is Bumming Ham ; if you say politely, Birming- 
ham, pronouncing with lips and teeth in the 
front part of the mouth, no one will understand 
what you mean. A Negro pastor whirled me 
round to the hub of Bumming Ham in his brand- 
new car. He had lately had a very successful 
revival, of which the motor was an outward and 
visible sign. And I called on many of the nota- 
bles. I met a short, scrubby Negro of fifty, whose 
complexion seemed to have been drenched in 
yellowness. He explained this by the statement 

that the blood of Senator H flowed in his 

veins. The senator had taken a liberty with 
his mother, who for her part was thoroughly 
black. He thanked the senator, since probably 
he had given him some brains; his mother's 
side of the family was unusually hard-headed. 



206 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



He had become a professor. His daughter was 
a remarkable public speaker, and as Senator 

H was an orator, he used to tell his Sarah 

that there was Senator H coming out in her. 

1 ' The Negro has been mixed with the best blood 
in the South, " said he; "the blood of the mas- 
ters, the English aristocrats who came first to 
the country." 

I did not think there was much in that. 

"Are mulattoes increasing or decreasing in 
numbers V 9 I asked. 

He thought they were increasing. But he did 
not deny the fact that Negro children tend to 
revert to type. When two mulattoes marry, the 
children are generally darker than the parents, 
and often real Negro types. The white man's 
strain is thrown out rapidly. 

"How T , then, is it that mulattoes and near 
Whites are on the increase?" The professor 
thought for one reason there was still much 
illegitimacy, and for another the Negro race 
under civilized conditions was getting a little 
fairer on the whole. Some of the mulatto women 
were extremely beautiful, and consequently 
more attractive to white men. The white women 
of the South hated the mulatto women because 
they took their husbands away from them. He 
thought a good deal of race hatred was fostered 
by the white woman, who instinctively hated the 
other race. 

"Did you ever hear of a union between a 



IN ALABAMA 



207 



Negro woman and a white man that was on 
other than an animal plane ?" I asked him. 

Professor M knew of several instances 

where an infatuation for a Negro woman had 
inspired a white man to make good in life. It 
was generally a tragedy, for they could not 
marry, and they were subject to coarse suspicion 
and raillery and intrigue. It stood in the way of 
the white man finding a white bride, and of the 
Negro woman finding a Negro husband. Where 
a white man had become interested in a Negro 
woman it was not good for the health of a Negro 
man to pretend to her affections. The mob 
feeling against Negroes was so readily aroused 
that it was the easiest thing in Alabama for a 
white man who had a grudge against a Negro 
to 6 1 frame up" a crime or a scandal and make 
him leave the neighborhood or remain con- 
stantly in danger of being roughly handled. 

Alabama has a bad record for lynching. It 
is about fifth in the list of bad States. I under- 
stood that lynching was on the increase. The 
old folk, the people who had been slave owners, 
the settled inhabitants of places like Anniston 
and Montgomery, and of the country, knew all 
the family history of their " niggers" from A 
to Z, and what they might do, or could do, and 
they were friendly, compared with the "new 
sort." 

The poor Whites loved to be in mobs and feel 
in mobs. Over their meals and at work and in 



208 THE SOUL OF JOHN BEOWN 



the trolley cars they loved to talk in the way 
of the mob. Individually they don't understand 
the Negro — they are afraid of him, like dogs 
that will only attack when in numbers. They 
mostly came to America after the Civil War 
and the Emancipation found the Negroes in pos- 
session of land or of work or of houses. They 
had their grievances, and instead of visiting 
them upon God or the Devil or Society in gen- 
eral, found the Negro a convenient fetish and 
visited their discontent on him. It soon became 
a habit, then it became a sort of lust and brutal 
sport. 

The older and more solid people have been 
much annoyed by the growth of this brutality, 
and something definite is being done to combat 
it in Alabama. Committees have been formed, 
or were being formed in the fall of 1919, in 
every county in the State, half white, half col- 
ored, to inquire into racial strife and see what 
could be done for life and freedom. 

An old Negro said to me : "We had two clocks 
on the cabin wall, and one was very slow and 
deliberate and always seemed to say: 

u 'Take yo 9 time. Take yo 9 timeV 
"But the other gabbled to us: 

" 'Get together, get together, get togetherl 9 
That's what we got to do to-day, brothers — 
get together." 

The Negroes are fond of emphasizing the 
triviality of color differences. They reprove the 



IN ALABAMA 



209 



white man playfully. " Why get so excited about 
difference in color? We believe in equality of 
rights for all men," I heard a leader say, ' 6 for 
all men of whatever color — white, black, brown, 
or yellow, or blue. 9 9 And his audience laughed. 
"Two boys go into a shop; one buys a red toy, 
the other a blue toy — but it is not very impor- 
tant which color — the toy's the same." 

But of course color prejudice or preference 
is not such a haphazard matter, and prejudice 
against the Negro is prejudice against more 
than color. The toy, so to speak, is different. 
It may be as good, but it is different. The body, 
and especially the skull, of a Negro is different 
from that of the white man. The nervous sys- 
tem, the brain, the mind and soul, are different. 
I heard the theory put forward in the name of 
Christian Science that in God's perfect plan, 
there were no Negroes. Their dark skins were 
other men's evil thought about them. All men 
were really white, and the outward appearance 
of their skin could be made to correspond to the 
white idea by concentrated true thought about 
them. That is a charitable and beautiful faith 
to live by. But what of the new line of Negroes 
who are proud of being black, who abhor pallor 
as nausea? There are many Negroes now who 
have a religion of being black. The new gen- 
eration of children is being brought up to glorify 
Negro color. It is told of the princes and war- 
riors from which it is descended, learns with 



210 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



the geography of the United States the geog- 
raphy of Africa, and delights in the cognomen 
— Afro-American. The color issue will never 
be settled by all Negroes becoming Whites. It 
seems clear also that it cannot be solved by all 
men becoming mulattoes. There seems to re- 
main just one obvious solution, and that is in 
distinct and parallel development, equality 
before the law, and mutual understanding and 
tolerance. 



IX 



THE SOUTHEEN POINT OP VIEW 

Shoemaker: No, my lord, they don't hurt you there. 
Foppington: I tell thee, they pinch me execrably. 
Shoemaker: Well, then, my lord, if those shoes pinch you, 
I'll be d d. 

Foppington: Why, wilt thou undertake to persuade me I 
cannot feel? 

Shoemaker: Your lordship may please to feel what you 
think fit; but that shoe does not hurt you. 
— ("A Trip to Scarborough.") 

The Southern point of view can be gathered to- 
gether in a very short chapter. Its expression 
has so crystallized that it can be set down in a 
series of paragraphs and phrases. Whosoever 
doth not believe, without doubt he shall be 
damned everlastingly. Wherever you meet a 
Southerner, be it in the remotest corner of the 
earth, it is the same as in native Alabama. I 
was talking to the Mother Superior of a con- 
vent one day in a genial English countryside. 
Although I did not know it, she derived from 
Mississippi. I mentioned the subject of the 
Negro, and from her quiet face, meager with 
fasting and pale with meditation, there flashed 
nevertheless the Southern flame — like lightning 
across the room. 

You have only to mention the Negro sympa- 
thetically in a public meeting and some one of 

211 



212 THE SOUL OF JOHN BEOWN 



Southern extraction will be found opposing to 
you a statement of the Southern, creed. Thus, 
after speaking one morning at Carnegie Hall, 
some one came up to me and said very emphat- 
ically: If you had lived among the Negroes 
you would not speak of them as you do — the 
inevitable Southerner. 
This is his creed : 

1. We understand the niggers and they like 
us. When they go North they're crazy till they 
get back to us. The North does not understand 
the nigger, pets him and spoils him, and at last 
dislikes him more than any Southerner. 

2. We have occasionally race riots in the 
South, but they are generally caused by Yan- 
kees who have come South. In any case the 
worst riots in recent years have taken place in 
the North — at Washington, right under the 
President's nose, and at Chicago. 

3. Few Northerners or Englishmen under- 
stand or can understand the Negro problem. 
Those who understand, agree with us. Those 
who do not agree, do not understand. 

4. The nigger is all right as long as he is kept 
in his place. You must make him keep his dis- 
tance. If once you are familiar with him, you 
are lost. He will give himself such airs that it 
will be impossible to get on with him. 

5. The nigger is an animal. The male of the 
species we generally call a "buck nigger.' ' Like 
the animals, he is full of lust, Like the animals, 



THE SOUTHERN VIEWPOINT 213 



also, he does not feel pain. When he is burned 
it is not the same as a white man burning. Like 
the animals, he has no soul either to lose or to 
save, and Christianity and education are alike 
wasted on him. The polished Negro is merely 
disgusting, like an ape in evening dress. You 
clothe him and dress him and put him at table, 
but he's an animal all the same and is bound 
to behave like one. You can't trust him. 

6. Under the influence of alcohol the Negro 
becomes a wild beast. He goes out of control. 
No fear of consequence can stop him. That is 
why some of the Southern States have been so 
ardently prohibitionist. 

7. If you had to live with them you'd under- 
stand how terrible it is. 

8. The nigger is a liar. He will say anything 
to your face to please you, or anything he thinks 
you want him to say. He'll tell you stories of 
lynchings that would make you think we lynched 
a nigger every week, instead of it's being the 
rarest occurrence. 

9. When we lynch 'em it's for a very good 
reason — to protect our white women. Ask any 
of your English or Northern friends, who pity 
the Negro, whether they'd be willing to let their 
daughters marry a Negro. It's a horrible 
thought. But that is what the Negro is always 
after — the white woman. His fancy runs to her, 
and if it were not for the terror of being lynched 
we should never be able to leave our wives and 



214 THE SOUL OF JOHN BEOWN 



daughters in security. The E in the middle of 
the Negro's name stands for his favorite pro- 
clivity. We burn 'em alive, yes, and do it slow, 
because killing's too good for them, and we get 
just so mad that everyone wants to be there, and 
have his part in putting them to death. In the 
North they do not lynch the Negro, but if one 
commits a crime they blame the whole Negro 
race. In the South we find the guilty man and 
punish him. 

10. When the white man goes to the Negro 
girl, it's different. He ought to be ashamed of 
himself, but there, it's human nature, and you 
can't be too stern with him. 

11. The white man is master, and must re- 
main master. But you do not realize how pre- 
carious his position is, outnumbered as he is, 
ten to one, in many districts. If the niggers 
joined hands against us we might be all killed 
in a night. 

12. They have votes. By the greatest injus- 
tice ever committed in this country, the Consti- 
tution of the United States was amended to give 
these people votes and give them power over us. 
It is true we prevent them using their votes, 
and override the Constitution at every election. 
But political agitation goes on all the time. 
Every Negro would vote Eepublican if he had 
a chance, just because we vote Democrat. The 
Eepublican party knows that, and is always con- 
spiring to restore to the Negro his lost power of 



THE SOUTHERN VIEWPOINT 215 

voting. It will never succeed, but you can see 
the anxiety it causes us. 

13. As for education, it's bad for the nigger 
almost every way, and every new educated nig- 
ger makes it more difficult to keep 'em down. 
But kept down they must be. 

14. Justice? Well, you ask any nigger which 
he'd prefer, a Southern court of justice and a 
Southern judge, or a Northern one. He would 
always prefer the Southern one, because in the 
South we understand him. And we're very fond 
of them and they of us. We get on verj well 
together. 

Southern belief rarely strays out of this codi- 
fied expression of thought. Get into converse 
with a Southerner on the subject of the Negroes, 
and you will almost always be able to refer his 
talk to 1 or 6 or 10 or some other paragraph 
of the foregoing. It is sufficiently pat and par- 
rot-like to be amusing at last. The Negro him- 
self is amused and pained by it. It amounts to 
this: The Southerner has made the Negro a 
pair of boots and he says they fit very well. 
The Negro says they don't fit. But the South- 
erner says he'll risk his salvation on it — he 
made the boots, and he knows his trade. The 
Negro, however, has to wear them. 

Perhaps if it were merely opinion, the idle- 
ness of the spoken word, the Southern point of 
view would merit less attention. Talk might be 



216 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



discounted, as mere talk is discounted by re- 
sponsible minds. But it has unfortunately a 
remarkable counterpart in action. It is the con- 
comitant of mob murder and torture. It is ex- 
pressed not only in narrow and bitter phrase, 
but in actual flesh twisting; not only in the 
flames of fanaticism, but in real flames. 

Lynching is a popular sport in the South. It 
is perhaps popular in idea all over the world. 
Even in Great Britain, where the policeman is 
on a sort of moral pedestal, and is paid immense 
respect. How often among the masses does one 
hear the sentiment that such and such a per- 
son should be put against a wall and shot. Even 
in a nation that has such a phrase as 4 4 the 
majesty of the law" the idea of taking the law 
into one's own hands is generally popular. In 
Russia, samosudi, as they are called, are fre- 
quent, and there is a short and terrible way 
with pickpockets when the crowd finds them out. 
France's passion for la lanterne does not need 
to be enlarged upon. 

It is said that in countries where the laws are 
badly administered and the police held in little 
respect, lynchings are the more frequent. This 
is so. And while lynching can have a moral 
sanction at first, it may, if unchecked, grow to 
be a popular sport, a means of "national" holi- 
day, like the shows of Rome, the auto-da-fe's of 
Spain, bullfights, and boxing competitions. 
When sufficient cause for a lynching is lacking, 



THE SOUTHERN VIEWPOINT 217 

cause may have to be invented, just to let the 
folk have some "fun." In the United States to- 
day there are not sufficient crimes committed 
by the Negroes to satisfy the hunger of the 
crowd for lynchings. So inevitably many inno- 
cent black men are sacrificed just for sport's 
sake. 

Last year seventy-seven Negroes were lynched 
in America; fourteen of them were burned 
alive. Burning appears to be on the increase, 
and is an obvious indication of growing mob 
lust. This form of brutality has long ago ceased 
in the Europe from which perhaps it was de- 
rived. Spaniards burned the Indians. Indians 
burned the settlers. Settlers burned their run- 
away slaves. And still to-day in comparatively 
large numbers the white Southern mob burns 
its Negro victims. It has its historical back- 
ground. The thought of burning supposed de- 
linquents alive is common in Southern minds. 
"Make 'em die slow" is even a watchword. 

The Southern half of the United States is 
fond of saying that the North is now quite as 
bad in its treatment of the Negro. Happily, that 
is untrue. Seventy-two out of the seventy-seven 
lynchings occurred south of the Mason-Dixon 
line, and the rest occurred in the Western 
States. The North was immune. Unfortunately, 
this good record was marred by some bad race 
riots in Northern cities. 

Of all the States, Georgia had the worst rec- 



218 THE SOUL OF JOHN BEOWN 



ord for lynching. During last year she lynched 
twenty-two persons, almost twice as many as 
the next worst, Mississippi. Two of these were 
for alleged attacks on white women. The rest 
were for a variety of crimes and misdemeanors. 
Thus, in April, a soldier was beaten to death at 
Blakely for wearing his uniform too long. In 
May, at Warrenton, Benny Eichards was 
burned to death for murder. In the first week 
in August a soldier was shot for refusing to 
yield the road, and another was hanged for dis- 
cussing the Chicago race riots. At Pope City 
another soldier was lynched for shooting. In 
the belief that the Negroes were planning a ris- 
ing, Eli Cooper was taken at Ocmulgee and pub- 
licly burned at the stake. On September 10th, 
in the Georgian city of Athens, another Negro, 
Obe Cox, was burned for murder. In Americus, 
in October, Ernest Glenwood was drowned 
as a propagandist. On October 5th, Moses 
Martin was shot for incautious remarks. Next 
day, at Lincolnton, one Negro was shot for mis- 
leading the mob, and two others were burned 
alive for committing murder. Next day another 
was shot at Macon for attempted murder. Two 
were hanged at Buena Vista for intimacy with 
a white woman, and before the end of the month 
three more met their end from the mob for 
shooting and manslaughter. 

As far as Georgia is concerned, this record 
disposes of the theory that lynching only takes 



THE SOUTHERN VIEWPOINT 219 



place when white women have been attacked. 
As a matter of fact, the commonest motive for 
lynching of Negroes throughout the United 
States has been shown to be mob condemnation, 
of violence — not of lust. By far the greatest 
number of lynchings are for supposed murder. 
The mob lynches the Negro as a man shoots his 
dog when the latter has turned on him. For- 
merly, attacks on women provided the greater 
number of cases. If the Negro were fool enough 
ever to make eyes at a white woman, he risked 
his life. Many innocent admirations and mis- 
understandings have resulted in lynchings. As 
for rape, the Negro who commits it is bound 
to come to a violent end. Very few escape 
lynching, and the South claims that whatever 
immunity it enjoys from Negro sexual crimes 
is due to the deterrent of lynch law. It claims 
that if the criminals were merely dealt with 
according to the law, sexual crimes would 
speedily multiply. 

White people with the white-race instinct are 
generally ready to condone lynching when it is 
proved that it thus acts as a deterrent. Per- 
haps they are right, and they ought not to put 
it to themselves from the black man's point 
of view. But there is the other point of view, 
and there is the collective opinion of the colored 
people on the subject, and that opinion is being 
organized and will make itself felt. It is worth 
attention and sympathy 



220 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 

Granted tKat the black man is tKe un3er man 
as far as the Whites are concerned, is he not 
entitled to some protection for his own women ? 
One of these Georgia lynchings which occurred 
last year was a characteristic affair. It occurred 
at the town of Milan. Two young white fellows 
tried to break into a house and seize two colored 
girls living there with their mother. They ran 
screaming to a neighbor's home. The Whites 
tore down a door, ripped up flooring, fired a 
gun, and made a great disturbance. One old 
Negro woman was so frightened she jumped 
into a well, and a worthy Negro grandfather of 
seventy-two years came out with a shotgun 
and fired in defence of the women. One of the 
white men fired on him. The Negro fired back 
and killed him. The other white man fled. Now, 
for that deed, instead of being honored as a 
brave man, the Negro was seized by the white 
mob and hanged on a high post, and his old 
body was shot to pieces. This man was a good 
and quiet citizen who went to chapel every Sun- 
day, and had performed his duty at peace with 
God and man for a lifetime. The man who led 
the lynchers was a "Christian" preacher. 
Sworn evidence on the matter was taken, but 
the officers of the law in the county refused to 
act. 

This lynching was by no means exceptional 
in its character. To cite an exceptional affair, 
one might well take the happenings in Brooks 



THE SOUTHERN VIEWPOINT 221 



and Lowndes Counties, Georgia, in May, 1918. 
Here a white bully with a pronounced spite 
against Negroes had been in court and paid 
the fine of thirty dollars for gambling which 
had been pronounced against a certain colored 
man called Sidney Johnson, and the latter had 
been sent to his estate to work off the debt. 
This is an example of the abuse of the law for 
keeping Negroes still in a state of slavery — a 
characteristic example of peonage. 

Johnson did the work to pay off the fine, but 
the farmer held him to do a great deal more. 
Eventually the Negro feigned sickness as an 
excuse for not doing any more. The farmer 
then came to his house and flogged him. It must 
be supposed this roused the devil in Johnson; 
he threatened the farmer, and he paid a return 
visit to the white man's house, fired on him 
through the window, killing the man himself 
and dangerously wounding his wife. At once 
the usual lynching committee was formed, and 
for a whole week they hunted for Johnson, who 
had gone into hiding. During that time they 
lynched eleven Negroes, of whom one was a 
woman. 

The white farmer had given cause for much 
hatred. He had constantly ill-treated his col- 
ored laborers. On one occasion he had flogged a 
Negro woman. Her husband had stood up for 
her, and he had him arrested and sentenced to 
a term of penal servitude in chains. The white 



222 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



mob concluded that he must have shot the 
farmer for revenge, and they accordingly 
lynched him. He was shot to death. His wife 
would not be quieted, but kept insisting that her 
poor husband had been innocent. The mob 
therefore seized her. It tied her upside down 
by her ankles to a tree, poured petrol on her 
clothing, and burned her to death. White Amer- 
ican women will perhaps take note that this col- 
ored sister of theirs was in her eighth month 
with child. The mob around her was not angry 
or insensate, but hysterical with brutal pleasure. 
The clothes burned off her body. Her child, 
prematurely born, was kicked to and fro by 

the mob and then Well, that is perhaps 

sufficient. There are many details of this crime 
which cannot be set down in print. But all these 
facts were authenticated and submitted to the 
governor of the State. The point that struck 
me was the pleasure which was taken by the 
mob in the sufferings which it was causing. It 
was drunk with cruelty. Here was little idea 
of a deterrent. Here was no question of racial 
prudence. From the point of view of the natural 
history of mankind, it put those white denizens 
of Georgia on a lower level than cannibals. 

It was America 's glorious May, when she was 
pouring troops into Europe and winning the 
war; hundreds of thousands of Negroes were 
clad in the uniform of the army and were fight- 



THE SOUTHERN VIEWPOINT 223 



ing for "freedom and justice" in Europe. The 
moral eloquence of the President was in all 
men's minds. America had the chance to take 
the moral leadership of the world. 

But away back in Georgia the mob pursued 
its horrible way. At length it found the orig- 
inal Johnson who had committed the murder, 
and he defended himself to the last in a house 
with gun and revolver, and died fighting. His 
dead body was dragged at the back of a motor 
car through the district, and then burned. 

The facts were brought to the attention of 
the governor, and he made a statement de- 
nouncing mob violence. But no one was ever 
brought to justice, though the names of the 
ringleaders were ascertained. No committee of 
inquiry was sent from "Washington. In fact, 
the people of Georgia were allowed thus to 
smirch the glorious flag of the republic and 
to lower the opinion of America in every cap- 
ital of the world; for the facts of this story 
have been printed in circular form and distrib- 
uted widely. It is undoubtedly a remarkable 
example of lynching. 

It seems rather strange that lynching crowds 
allow themselves to be photographed. Men and 
women and children in hundreds are to be seen 
in horrible pictures. One sees the summer mob 
all in straw hats, the men without coats or waist- 
coats, the women in white blouses, all eager, 



224 THE SOUL OF JOHX BROWN 



some mirthful, some facetious. You can upon 
occasion buy these photographs as picture post- 
cards. The people are neither ashamed nor 

afraid. 

Northern Negroes go down to investigate 
lvnchings, buy these photographs, bring them 
back to safe New York, and then print them 
off in circulars with details of the whole affair. 
Southern newspapers, though reticent, cannot 
forego giving descriptions of lvnchings, every- 
one is so much interested in them. Newspaper 
reports are also reprinted. There is no need to 
resort to hearsay in telling of the mob murders 
of the South. They are heavily documented and 
absolutely authenticated. The United States 
Government cannot, for instance, prosecute 
such a Negro association as the N. A. A. C. P. 
for the pamphlets it issues on lvnchings, be- 
cause it does no more than publish facts which 
have been publicly authenticated. If prose- 
cuted, worse details would see light. There- 
fore, these pamphlets go forth. 

The first thing they do is tell the colored 
people as a whole what has been happening. 
The Negroes of Alabama and Tennessee hear 
what has been happening in Georgia; the Ne- 
groes of Florida and Louisiana hear what ha3 
taken place in Arkansas and Texas. Above all, 
the educated Northern Negroes know of it. Ad- 
vanced papers such as the Crisis, the Chicago 
Defender, and the Negro Messenger are giving 



THE SOUTHEEN VIEWPOINT 225 



the Negro people as a whole a new conscious- 
ness. First of all in Christianity in the days of 
slavery and in their melancholy plantation 
music they obtained a collective race conscious- 
ness. And now, through persecution on the one 
hand and newspapers on the other they are 
strengthening and fulfilling that consciousness. 
Destiny is being shaped in this race, and white 
men are the instruments who are shaping it. 
May it not emerge eventually as a sword, the 
sword of the wrath of the Lord. 

I met many Whites who boasted of having 
taken part in a lynching, and I have met those 
who possessed gruesome mementoes in the 
shape of charred bones and gray, dry, Negro 
skin. I said they were fools. Actually to have 
the signs upon them! Truly they were in the 
state of mind in which most men seem to be 
when fate is going to overtake them. They were 
proud of their " quick way with niggers," they 
justified it, they felt the wisdom of lynching 
could never be disproved. The matter to them 
was not worth arguing. They assumed that any- 
one who wished to argue the point must have 
sympathy with the "niggers," and that was 
enough for 'them. It never occurred to them 
that one who doubted the wisdom of lynching 
might be actuated by sympathy or at least 
apprehensive for them. 

I felt sorry for the white women of the South ; 
there will some day be a terrible reckoning 



226 THE SOUL OF JOHN BEOWN 



against them. Their honor and safety are being 
made the pretext for terrible brutality and cru- 
elty. Kevenge, when it gains its opportunity, 
will therefore wreak itself upon the white 
woman most. Because in the name of the white 
woman they justify burning Negroes at the 
stake to-day, white women may be burned by 
black mobs by and by. There is no doubt that 
almost any insurrection of Negroes could ulti- 
mately be put down by force, and that it would 
be very bad for the Negroes and for their cause, 
but before it could be put down what might hap- 
pen? And should it synchronize with revolu- 
tionary disturbances among the Whites them- 
selves, or with a foreign war? 

I do not believe that there are real conspira- 
cies of Negroes. But there is growing disaffec- 
tion. The colored people are a friendly, easy- 
going, fond-to-foolish folk by nature. But their 
affection and devotion have been roughly re- 
fused. It has almost disappeared. Now we have 
the phenomenon of Negro mothers telling their 
little children of the terrible things done by 
the white folk, and every Negro child is learn- 
ing that the white man is his enemy. Every 
lynching, every auto-da-fe is secreting hate and 
the need for revenge in the Negro masses. Be- 
cause the Negroes are weak and helpless and 
unorganized to-day, illiterate often, stupid and 
unbalanced often, clownish and funny and un- 
reliable, white folk think that it will always be 



THE SOUTHEEN VIEWPOINT 227 



so. But they are wrong. While the industrial- 
ized masses of the Whites are certainly degener- 
ating, the masses of the Negroes are certainly 
rising. Trouble is bound to arise and retribu- 
tion terrible. What the lowbrows of the South 
are teaching the Negro he will be found to have 
learned, and as Shylock said about revenge — it 
will go hard but he betters the instruction. 

It may be thought that this is written with 
too much emphasis, and that this statement on 
the lynchings is too unmerciful to the white 
South. But I believe it is absolutely necessary. 
There are those who would be ready to do again 
the injustice which was done to the Whites in 
the South after the Civil War. When discus- 
sing these matters in the North I have been hor- 
ror-struck by the opinions I have heard ex- 
pressed. This is written in no partisan spirit, 
and I believe those who would rejoice in the 
destruction or punishment of the Southern 
white population are utterly wrong in heart. 
Punishment and revenge will only perpetuate 
the strife. But an eclair cissement, a flood of 
daylight on these matters, a thorough shaking 
of these stupid people down below the line — a 
warning in such terrible terms as I have made, 
might save Black and White for the religion of 
love and a joy in God's creatures. 

It may come from a stranger, a complete out- 
sider, with more force than from an American. 
I have, however, found a Southerner who con- 



228 THE SOUL OF JOHN BEOWN 



demned Georgia, the Roman Catholic Bishop, 
Benjamin J. Keiley, who gave out a very serious 
warning in Savannah on the 2nd of November 
of last year. He said : 

"It is hardly necessary to state that I am a 
Southerner ... I warmly love the South ; and 
her story, her traditions, and her ideals are very 
dear to me . . . But I fully recognize the abso- 
lute justice of one charge which is made against 
her, and I look with grave apprehension to the 
future, for no people that disregards justice 
can ever have the blessing of God, and we are 
guilty of great injustice to the Negro. The 
Negro was brought here against his will; he is 
here and he will remain here, and he is not 
treated with justice by us; nay, I will say that 
he is often not treated with ordinary humanity. 

"Look at the statistics in our own State. 
Georgia stands first in the list of States in the 
matter of lynching. Has there ever been a man 
punished in this State for lynching a Negro? 

"Lynching is murder, nothing else. 

"Besides, is it not the fact that fair and im- 
partial justice is not meted out to white and 
colored men alike? The courts of this State 
either set the example, or follow the example 
set them, and they make a great distinction be- 
tween the white and the black criminal brought 
before them. The latter as a rule gets the full 
limit of the law. Do you ever hear of a street 
difficulty in which a Negro and a white man 
were involved which was brought before a 



THE SOUTHERN VIEWPOINT 229 



judge, in which, no matter what were the real 
facts of the case, the Negro did not get the 
worst of it? 

"Georgians boast of being a Christian people, 
and this year they are putting their hands into 
their pockets to raise millions to bring the light 
of Christianity, as understood by them, to some 
less favored peoples in Europe. 

"I would like to know if it is entirely com- 
patible with Christian morality to treat the 
Negro as he is treated here? My belief is that 
the Negro and the white man were redeemed 
by the blood of Christ shed on the cross of Cal- 
vary, and that the Christian religion absolutely 
condemns injustice to anyone and forbids the 
taking of life. 

"To me the murder of a Negro is as much 
murder as the killing of a white man, and in 
each case Christian civilization demands that 
the punishment of the crime should rest in the 
hands of the lawfully constituted authorities. 

"I have lived to see in Georgia an appeal 
made to the highest authority in the State for 
protection of the lives of colored men, women, 
and children, answered by the statement that 
the Negro should not commit crimes! The 
people of Georgia vest in certain officials the 
execution of justice. Yet no lyncher has ever 
been punished here, and I regret to state that 
public sentiment seems to justify the conduct of 
the officials. 

"Only a short time ago I was reading the 



230 THE SOUL OF JOHN BEOWN 



strange news of the race riots in the Northern 
and Western cities. Thank God, we have had 
none of these riots in the South. Do you know 
the reason? The only reason is the forbearance 
of the Negro. He has been treated with gross 
injustice; he has not retaliated. In all these 
cases gross disregard for law and order are 
either the cause or the direct consequence of 
those disturbances. 

"Are there not numbers of honest, law-abid- 
ing citizens of Georgia who know that I am 
telling God's truth, and who will protest against 
this injustice to the Negro? Is there not a just 
and fearless man on the bench in this State who 
will have the courage to announce that there 
shall be no difference in his court between the 
white man and the colored man? 

"Injustice and disregard of law and the law- 
ful conduct of affairs are the sure forerunners 
of anarchy and the loss of our liberty, and we 
are drifting in that direction. 

"The Negro will not stand asking for justice 
from Georgia laws or Georgia courts. He has 
been patient, and I hope he will remain so, but 
lie well knows where the remedy lies, and he 
will very soon be found knocking at the door of 
the Federal Congress, asking protection. And 
Congress will hear him. 

"If appeals to right, justice, to Christian 
morality, do not avail to put a stop to this in- 
justice to the Negro and protect him against 



THE SOUTHERN VIEWPOINT 231 



the murderous lynchers, then Georgia will see 
Federal bayonets giving him protection/ ' 

Such a voice is very rare. The warning is the 
more worth heeding. 



X 



EXODUS 

The Negro's refrain, "Let My People Go," 
continues to have a strong emotional appeal. 
Though devoted to the Southland in an intense, 
sentimental way, for the Negro has an infinitely 
pathetic love of home, he has come sorrowfully 
to the conclusion — he must go away from here. 
It is strange, because homesickness is almost 
a mania with the Negro. He relates himself to 
the white master's house where he works, to the 
rude cabin where his family live, to his church, 
to the "home niggers," in an extravagant path- 
ological way which has nothing to do with grati- 
tude. Perhaps it is because as a people the 
slaves were uprooted out of a home in Africa, 
and they have a haunting melancholy in the hid- 
den depths of their souls. I believe their child- 
ish idealization of heaven in their hymns is 
fundamentally a sort of homesickness. The 
Negro is not a natural nomad or vagrant like 
the Eussian, the Jew, the Tartar. He must have 
been as geographically fixed in his native haunts 
in Africa. Judge, then, how great a disturbance 



232 



EXODUS 



233 



must take place before the Negro en masse 
would be ready to emigrate. Yet so it is to-day. 
With consternation in their aspect, whole fami- 
lies, whole communities, are waiting — to go 
North. And hundreds of thousands of them 
are on the move. Of course it is not a complete 
change of scene. The North has its Negro 
masses too. One rather loses sight of them 
among the Whites, but they are there. And they 
do not cease to invite their unhappy brothers 
and sisters down South to throw up everything 
and come North. 

While it is commonly said that the Negro 
cannot stand the colder climate of the North, 
there is, however, not much evidence to that 
effect. As their orators are proud to declaim — 
the only civilized man to accompany Peary to 
the actual North Pole was his trusted servant, 
Matt Henson, a Negro. To some delicate 
Negroes, no doubt, a severe climate would be 
fatal, but that is true for Whites as well as 
Negroes. On the whole, the Northern air seems 
to be good for the Negro if he can stand it. The 
Negroes of New York and Chicago and Boston, 
and the Canadian Negroes, are firmer in flesh 
and in will than those who live in the South. 
And they are certainly more energetic. They 
yield more hope for the race as a whole than do 
the others. Perhaps one ought to discount this 
fact in the light of the extra prosperity and hap- 
piness of the Northern Negroes, There is noth- 



234 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



ing that will undermine the constitution more 
than terror and nervous depression. Security- 
is the real Negro ozone. 

There has been during the last three years a 
steady migration of Negroes northward. This 
has been primarily due to the stoppage of for- 
eign immigration and the consequent labor 
shortage in the districts which depended on the 
immigrant. The reasons why the Negro was 
ready to leave his Southern habitat have been 
summarized in the U. S. Department of Labor 
Report:* 

"General dissatisfaction with conditions, rav- 
ages of boll weevil, floods, change of crop sys- 
tem, low wages, poor houses on plantations, 
poor school facilities, unsatisfactory crop set- 
tlements, rough treatment, cruelty of the law 
officers, unfairness in courts, lynching, desire 
for travel, labor agents, the Negro press, let- 
ters from friends in the North, and, finally, 
advice of white friends in the South where 
crops had failed." 

It is impossible to calculate the numbers with 
any likelihood of accuracy. Even the census of 
1920 will hardly indicate what has taken place 
— for no one can say what allowance ought to 
be made for natural increase in the last ten 
years. But the insurance companies reckon 
that between May, 1916, and September, 1917, 

•"Negro Migration in 1916-17" Government Printing 
Office, Washington, 1919, 



EXODUS 



235 



between thirty-five and forty thousand Negroes 
left Georgia. Perhaps the net loss to the South 
has been a quarter of a million, the majority 
young, single men and women. Some certainly 
put the figure higher. The movement has slowed 
down, owing to the after-the-war stagnancy in 
trade, the very bad housing conditions in the 
North, the race riot in Chicago, and other 
retarding influences. With a revival of trade it 
may go on more rapidly. Certainly whenever 
a countryside in the South is visited by some 
special act of violence there is a tendency for 
the colored population to flee. Unfortunately, 
the lot of migrants of the type of Negroes is 
always a hard one. It is difficult to settle down 
in a new community. Irregular habits bring 
disease. Provincial dullness makes it difficult 
to find a job or to evade sharpers. Unfortu- 
nately, also, Negroes are not by nature altruis- 
tic, not clannish like the Jews. They do not help 
one another in distress as much as poor Whites 
do. So many who flee northward inevitably 
come to grief. 

It is urged in the South that the North is not 
entirely appreciative of the influx of so many 
Negroes. But, on the other hand, it is alleged 
that the large Northern companies sent their 
agents into every State in the South seeking 
labor. It was certainly useful to the companies. 
And although the loose and nondescript unem- 
ployed immigrants were guilty of a number of 



236 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



crimes, it is generally held that those who found 
employment proved very steady and reliable. 
The Negro proved a safe man in the munition 
factory, and it was found he could do a white 
man's job in a mine and in the steel works. The 
employers of labor were well pleased. But there 
was a section of the community that was not 
pleased, and that was the working class — the 
poor "Whites once more, who saw in Negro mi- 
gration an influx of non-union labor, depressing 
wages, and lowering the standard of living. 
The workingmen speedily quarreled with the 
Negro — seeing in him the oft encountered 
strike breaker. Those who have gone through 
the Negro district of Chicago, with its filthy, 
ramshackle frame buildings occupied by Negro 
families, a family to a room, know how appalling 
is the aspect of the Negro there. In the old days 
the white population took it as a matter of 
course, as they did so many other things in 
this evil industrial conglomeration so aptly 
called the Jungle. But too much competition 
and too many unfamiliar, gloomy Negro faces 
on the streets caused the nervous shock which 
accounted for the Chicago riots, begun strangely 
enough not by a Negro attack, but by a white 
youth knocking a Negro boy off a raft on the 
lake and drowning him. The three days' free 
fight which ensued was one of the most disillu- 
sioning episodes in the history of Northern 
friendship for the Negro. 



EXODUS 



237 



Nevertheless, Negro leaders still cry "Come 
North !" 

There have always been those who thought 
that the Negro problem could be solved by en- 
couraging migration. The exodus to the North 
was hailed as a partial liquidation of the South- 
ern trouble. Doubtless an even distribution of 
Negroes over the whole of the country would 
put them in the desired minority as regards 
Whites. Outnumbered by ten to one, they 
would never seem to threaten to grasp electoral 
control or be in a position to use physical force 
with a chance of success. But these are highly 
theoretical suppositions. Even at the present 
great rate of exodus it would take hundreds of 
years to even them out, and there is no reason 
to think that the emigrants would distribute 
themselves easily. They would probably crowd 
more and more into the large cities like Chi- 
cago and Pittsburgh, and be as much involved 
in evil conditions there as they were in the 
South. 

Another popular misconception is that it is 
possible to find a home for the Negro in Africa, 
and get rid of him that way. Men say airily, 
"Pack them all off to Liberia,' 9 as they used 
to say, "Send the Jews back to Palestine." It 
is not a practical proposal. Abraham Lincoln 
held this view, and he opened negotiations with 
foreign governments in order to find suitable 



238 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



territory for Negro colonization, but he gave up 
the idea when General Butler, who investigated 
the matter for him, convinced him that the 
Negro birth rate was greater than any possible 
rate of transport. 

What was true in 1865 ought to be more obvi- 
ous to-day. It is a physical impossibility to 
transport those twelve millions and their 
progeny to Africa. If a large instalment were 
taken, would they not perish from starvation 
and disease? The eyes of the world would be 
on the United States doing such a thing, and 
they would be involved in a terrible scandal. 

But, indeed, the first to cry out 1 1 Give us back 
our niggers" would be the South; for her 
whole prosperity has a foundation of Negro 
labor. Take away the black population, and the 
white farmers, and traders, and financiers 
would be so impoverished that they also would 
want to emigrate to Africa. 

In a material way would not the whole con- 
tinent of America suffer greatly? You cannot 
withdraw twelve million from the laboring 
class and go on as before. It is a ridiculous 
solution. The only reason for giving it place in 
serious criticism is that so many people nurse 
the delusion that the problem can be solved by 
deportation. It stands in the way when people 
would otherwise face the facts honestly — our 
forefathers introduced the Negro into our 
midst, he is here to stay, and we have to find 



EXODUS 



239 



out what is best for him and best for the White, 
taking the facts as they are. 

One good purpose has, however, been served 
by the encouragement of Negro emigration back 
to Africa. It has kept the Negro in touch with 
his original home. It has broadened the Negro's 
outlook and started a Negro Zionism — a senti- 
ment for Africa. The Negro loves large con- 
ceptions — the universal tempts his mind as it 
tempts that of the Slav. In short, Liberianism 
has possessed the Negro of a world movement. 



XI 



IN NORTH FLORIDA AND NEW ORLEANS 

Lynching is more associated with tlie cotton- 
growing districts than with others. It is not a 
fact that the further sonth yon go the more vio- 
lent the temper of the people. Southeastern 
Georgia, where the main business is lumbering 
and rice growing, has a better record than the 
cotton-growing interior. The cotton planters 
are aware of this, and it is not uncommon to 
curse the cotton and wish they could turn to 
something else. Cotton is not a popular indus- 
try. In the old days it bound slavery upon 
planter and Negro — for cotton necessitates 
cheap labor — and now it keeps the Negro down 
and perpetuates an ungenerous type of life. 

I worked down the Atlantic coast to Bruns- 
wick and Jacksonville, preparing in mind for 
some sort of joyful surprise when I should enter 
Florida. Brunswick is one of the oldest ports 
in Georgia. As far as records go, it has never 
been disgraced by a lynching. Its background 
of industry is chiefly timber, and the eye looks 
in vain for a cotton bale or a cotton blossom. 
It is a peaceful little city, all sand and low palm 
and scrub, with innumerable grasshoppers and 
butterflies even in December. An open-streeted 



240 



IN FLORIDA AND NEW ORLEANS 241 



port with placid, happy Negroes and no race 
movement of any kind. 

At Jacksonville one experiences a complete 
change of air. It is the climate of Florida, and 
the difference between cotton and fruit. The 
difference also between much sombre business 
and some gilded pleasure. "When the rich from 
the North step out of their cars in Florida and 
take their ease at Palm Beach, they naturally 
would not care to be mixed up in the South 's 
pet sport. Lynchings are bad business in Flor- 
ida, for if the things occurred there that take 
place in the neighboring State of Georgia it 
would certainly frighten away many polite and 
wealthy visitors. As regards the white woman 
also, the Floridians do not so assiduously libel 
the Negro as do the Georgians. Ladies need not 
be afraid to visit the watering places; the col- 
ored man is said to have his passions well under 
control. Most of the trouble that does occur is 
in more obscure places, and more in northern 
than in southern Florida. 

Jacksonville is a large port with a population 
bordering on a hundred thousand. Naturally, 
there are masses of poor as well as numbers of 
rich. There is employment for a great quantity 
of Negro labor, and on the streets one may ob- 
serve the characteristics of a large maritime 
city. What strikes an Englishman visiting these 
Atlantic ports — Baltimore, Norfolk, Savannah, 
Jacksonville ; when compared with Hull, Car- 



242 THE SOUL OF JOHN BEOWN 



diff, Liverpool, London Docks, etc. — is the 
absence of that somewhat agitating phenomenon 
of black dock laborers walking out with poor 
white girls. You may see them any evening in 
England. As a natural and instinctive thing, 
most Whites resent it, and street fights in Eng- 
land are the not uncommon result. In America, 
walking out with Negroes either innocently or 
otherwise is impossible. Eiots and lynchings do 
not arise from that reason, but from alleged 
individual assaults upon white women. It 
should be remarked that womanhood in Amer- 
ica is practically idealized. The public as a 
whole is disinclined to tolerate a woman smok- 
ing or drinking, or bathing in inadequate attire, 
or even ' 6 spooning. 9 1 It would not occur to a 
poor white factory girl as even possible to walk 
out with a Negro. Her moral self-esteem is 
higher than that of her English sister. The girls 
who are seen walking out with Negroes in Lon- 
don belong more often to a class which is eco- 
nomically or morally submerged. 

The Jacksonville Negroes were in a state of 
considerable anxiety and ferment when I was 
there. Not because of white-woman trouble, but 
in anticipation of a riot breaking out on one plea 
or another. A bad lynching had occurred in the 
preceding September. A drunken White quar- 
reled with a Negro taxi driver, threatened him 
and exasperated him, whereupon a conflict 
ensued in which the White was killed. The white 



IN FLORIDA AND NEW ORLEANS 243 



mob then rounded up every Negro chauffeur in 
the city and terrified a great number of homes, 
because the lyncher does not care whether he 
lynches the right Negro or not, as long as one 
of them suffers. And in this case two paid the 
penalty. Undoubtedly the horror and terror of 
being taken by the mob is the worst of an execu- 
tion of this kind. 

The Negroes were very suspicious of white 
men, and I did not make much progress inquir- 
ing into their ways of life. I found, however, 
a considerably inflated prosperity of churches, 
due to the philanthropy of Northern visitors, 
and a well-to-do black proletariat working in 
the shipbuilding yard and the docks. Nearly 
all the work done by them was, however, un- 
skilled, and they were only taken as substitutes 
on skilled work. Substitutes earned as much as 
seven dollars a day. There is a 6 1 Colored' ' 
Bank and, as at Birmingham, a so-called 6 'sky- 
scraper' 9 of six stories accommodating all and 
sundry of trades and professions. Once more, 
successful drug stores and burial parlors, and a 
Mme. Nettie Price with beauty establishment. 
I called at the "War Camp Community Club for 
colored soldiers and sailors — not so enterpris- 
ing as the one I visited at Norfolk — but the right 
sort of institution, well used in a proper and 
discreet way. 

1 crossed the neck of land to Pensacola, pass- 
ing through Tallahassee, a district where fine 



244 THE SOUL OF JOHN BEOWN 

leaves of tobacco for cigar wrapping are grown 
under trellis. Orange groves hung in plenteous 
fruit just ripe to pick, changing from green 
to gold. Pensacola is a port with a great history 
of its own involving Spanish, British, French, 
American history. Its background is of orange 
groves and pecan orchards. The pecan nut, a 
refinement from the walnut, is so prized in the 
rest of the United States that one can make 
a good living and save money on a planting of 
a hundred or so trees. The main street of Pen- 
sacola, leading down to the long pier, is very 
picturesque, with its mariners 9 grocers and ma- 
rine stores. A passenger vessel plies weekly ta 
Mobile, the great fruit port of southern Ala- 
bama, and it is possible to get a passage on 
cargo boats going to New Orleans. Before the 
war there was much maritime traffic, but few of 
the vessels which sailed away to do transport 
and other war duties have returned. 

Pensacola claims to be the oldest white city 
in the United States, disputing the matter with 
St. Augustine, Jacksonville, and is taking the 
question very seriously in view of any celebra- 
tion. It is not an important place, but is build- 
ing toward its own supposed greatness, has a 
fine new railway station and huge, white stone 
post office and mammoth hotel. These buildings 
are puzzling in a town where life seems so 
placid. 

Here was a bad lynching for rape a year ago, 



IN FLOEIDA AND NEW ORLEANS 245 



and a Negro was burned to death. Representa- 
tions were made to the governor of Florida on 
the matter. The governor, Sidney I. Catts, re- 
plied that he made every effort to keep down 
lynching in the State, but he could not bring 
the lynchers to trial, as the citizenship of the 
State would not stand for it. Apparently he 
condoned the burning of the Negro, because it 
was a clear case of sexual wantonness and vio- 
lence on the part of one of the Negro race. It 
is somewhat surprising that the chief officer of 
the law should thus fail to uphold the law. Who 
is to uphold it if he do not? A contrast this, 
to the heroic behavior of Mayor Smith of 
Omaha ! 

Nature did not intend the Gulf of Mexico as 
a frame for lynching, nor that those happy, blue 
skies should look down on human candles. If 
ever there was a serene and happy place in the 
world it is here, and there is scope for all races 
to live and to let live. Health is on the shoulder 
of the winds that blow ; fish and fruit and grain 
and sugar are abundant. Are not the harbors 
bobbing with grapefruit; upon occasion does 
not every boy suck the natural sugar from the 
cane? The luscious canteloupe fills with the sun; 
peaches and nectarines swell to double sizes of 
lusciousness and sweetness. Visitors, more- 
over, bring a plenitude of dollars and scatter 
them as they go, Jacksonville, Tallahassee, 



246 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 

Pensacola, Mobile, New Orleans — they are more 
blest by Nature than other cities of the South. 

Personally, I preferred New Orleans. It is 
the finest and most interesting city in which to 
live. It is by far the largest city of the South, 
Atlanta coming second, and Birmingham, Ala- 
bama, third. It is the great port of the vast Mis- 
sissippi River, and is the head of what was a 
mighty river traffic. It faces south, and is more 
related to France and Spain and the Indies 
than to Britain and Scandinavia and the North 
Atlantic. Like New York, it has also a strange 
mixture of races, but they are southern races. 

Of course it has been notorious as a city of 
pleasure and fast living. Everyone says to the 
tourist, 6 1 When you get to New Orleans, you'll 
see 'life,' " by which is meant the life-wasting 
of the immoral. Its reputation in that respect 
resembled that of Cairo, and the curious, even 
if they did not wish to taste, could pay to be 
shown round and thus satisfy their eyes by 
looking upon evil. The money which flows 
southward from the pockets of the rich through- 
out the winter has no doubt helped to keep the 
red light burning. Now all has changed, how- 
ever. The various vice crusades and the enact- 
ment of prohibition have combined to bring 
New Orleans to the moral level of other cities 
of America. There is a violent opposition to the 
Puritan movement in many sections of the pop- 
ulation, and the law is flouted very often, but 



IN FLORIDA AND NEW ORLEANS 247 



New Orleans nevertheless has ceased to present 
any particular interest to the low pleasure 
seeker or those of morbid imagination. The city 
will be the better for it. It is a wonderful place. 
The inhabitants, after all, were not mainly en- 
gaged in the business of pleasure, but in honest 
trade, and they increase ever. New Orleans is 
the metropolis of the South, and has a vast and 
growing commerce which is rendered pictur- 
esque by the glamour of that abundance of 
Nature in the midst of which she is founded. 

One pictures New Orleans as a city of men in 
white, with white hats as well as white clothes, 
men smoking heavy, black cigars, or saunter- 
ing idly in the company of exotic-looking ladies ; 
a city of wide open streets and white houses, 
of many open-air cafes and garden theatres and 
luxuriant parks, a place certainly of fashion 
and gayety and elegant living. But what I found 
on my first impression was an unpainted city, 
a mass of houses mostly wooden, but moulder- 
ing, pallid, and peeling, of every hue of decay. 
Some walls seemed ready to fall out, some ready 
to fall in. Man of the period 1920, European, 
industrialized, diminutive, clad in sober garb, 
pursued the common way of life. The cheap 
lunch shop, hall-mark of American civilization, 
identified the city as American. There were the 
usual lofty, ramshackle caravanserai with 
Negro bell boys and the clatter of ice water, the 
usual public gardens strewn with the newspa- 



248 THE SOUL OF JOHN BEOWN 



pers of the day. But though it was winter, the 
weather was hot. The atmosphere was dense 
and warm, and the closeness was not dissipated 
even by the wind when it came. A gale blew in 
from the Gulf. It scattered warm rain in the 
city, it rushed through multitudes of palm trees 
in the suburbs outside. 

The American part of the city is vast and 
residential and conventional. The business sec- 
tion expresses business; the home section is 
uptown and removed from the life of the cen- 
ter. If there were only this "new" part, noth- 
ing would distinguish New Orleans from other 
cities. But it has its vieux carree in which its 
history is written, the old, or French, part of 
the town. The American side is continually re- 
building itself, but the French remains as it 
was. It has not torn itself down and got rebuilt 
in modern style. Its great public place is Jack- 
son Square, flanked by the market, and that is 
beautifully prim and French, but it is foiled by 
ugly railings and municipal sheds. Neverthe- 
less, it holds one more than does the architec- 
tural grandeur of Lafayette Square, in the 
American half, with its stupendously grand 
Post Office and Town Hall; and the subdued 
simplicity of Dauphine Street and Chartres and 
Bienville and many others is better than any 
quantity of the new and takes one back in mind 
to Old Paris and Old London. With all its Cre- 
ole restaurants and cheap markets and French 



IN FLORIDA AND NEW ORLEANS 249 



churches, it reminded me forcibly of Soho, in 
London, but of course it is larger and grander. 

Once a tongue of the Mississippi divided the 
old from the new, a long and narrow strip of 
somewhat torpid water. Now it has been filled 
up, though where the water was it is in some 
places green with grass. Six lines of electric 
cars and four streams of other traffic go up and 
down Canal Street, as it is now called. It is 
a great highway, finer in some respects than 
the Nevsky Prospect in Petrograd, certainly 
broader. On one side of it and down to the 
water edge it is definitely and undoubtedly old; 
on the other it is definitely and undoubtedly 
new. On one side is reality and matter of fact, 
on the other glamour and color ; on one you make 
or lose money, on the other you have or miss 
adventures; one is prose, the other poetry; and 
it is well understood in New Orleans. You work 
in one, you live a conventional home life in one, 
but in the other you seek pleasure and adven- 
tures away from home. Not that you cannot 
dine on the new side, where there are costly 
and luxurious hotels, but an interesting and 
characteristic story might be written of a man 
who stayed too long over his wine in the new 
part, and then, late at night, strayed across this 
broad, dark Lethe which divides old from new, 
to lose himself on the farther side — an adven- 
ture and a dream. 

The foreign streets are of red brick and 



250 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



painted wood, with vine-wreathed verandas and 
balconies. The houses are crowded within. Red 
painted wood, with vine-wreathed verandas and 
show a bed occupying half a tiny room, and per- 
haps a Creole lady in the bed. There is not much 
squeamishness in the Creoles. French is spoken 
everywhere, and often English is not under- 
stood. Most of the people are Catholic, and are 
related spiritually to "Mother Church.' 9 Old 
St, Louis Cathedral, with its spiky tower, is 
full of people of a Sunday morning, and the 
service is so perfunctory that it is clear it is 
no mission church, but one long established and 
sure. There are monastical institutions, even 
for the Negroes. "While Irish Catholics do 
not like Negroes, the French and Spanish do. 
Specially interesting is the Convent of the 
Sacred Heart, with its black Mother Superior 
and its happy, placid Negro Catholicism. The 
best of the Negroes call themselves Negro Cre- 
oles. The Creoles are the cross-breed of French 
and Spaniard and their descendants. Strictly 
speaking, no Negroes are Creoles, but the 
descendants of the slaves of the Creoles and 
in general the French and Spanish-speaking 
Negroes call themselves Negro Creoles, and are 
generally indulged in the appellation. Creoles 
indeed have not much prejudice against color, 
being much mixed themselves, and in any case 
of French extraction, and the French have 
never had much sense of racial distinction. To 



IN FLORIDA AND NEW ORLEANS 251 



speak French is a sign of belonging to society 
in New Orleans. The opening of the opera sea- 
son at the French Opera House (lately burned 
down) is the event of the winter, and everyone 
of importance must be present. The next sign 
of good taste is to know cuisine, and to be able 
to differentiate the delicaces and the subtleties 
of the famous Creole chefs. 

I visited the mayor, Catholic, but of German 
name. He could not easily have kept his mayor- 
alty with such a name in England. But here 
he was very popular. He was a human pyramid 
in long, voluminous morning coat, smoking a 
cigar as he worked, but walking with a ponder- 
ous and poised walk, and exhibiting a front of 
truly mayoral proportions. He said, concerning 
the Negroes, "We have no trouble with them 
here; we get on very well together. They are 
outside politics; that makes it much easier. If 
they had the power to vote, of course it would 
be different." New Orleans is one of those 
places where a Negro 's grandfather must have 
voted if he is to vote, and he must prove that 
his grandfather voted. I demurred to the 
mayor. 1 1 The Negroes seem very suspicious of 
the Whites, and hostile," said I. He thought 
not. It was evidently his set policy to have that 
point of view. Politically he could not afford to 
be strongly interested in the Negro ferment. 
For although the disenfranchised Negro popu- 
lation thought him friendly to them, the Whites 



252 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



also thought him " sound on the nigger ques- 
tion/ 9 No white man who expressed sympathy 
for the Negro could possibly succeed in Louisi- 
ana politics. There was proceeding while I was 
there a violent election campaign for the gov- 
ernorship of the State, and it was curious that, 
though the Negro could take little personal part 
in the choosing of the governor, he neverthe- 
less took almost first place in the political dis- 
cussions. Soundness on the Negro question 
seemed to be the chief test of candidacy. A man 
who might betray lynchers to justice or any- 
thing of that kind was evidently feared by the 
white population. Nevertheless, as I have said, 
the Creoles were on friendly terms with the 
Negroes. It is the Anglo-Saxon and Irish-Ameri- 
can section of the population, the undifferenti- 
ated Southern Whites, who determine the way 
of politics here, as elsewhere in the South. It 
is likely that if the Creoles were left to them- 
selves with the Negro population, they would 
grant them full rights, not only in the courts 
and in suffrage, but socially. The Negroes know 
this, and are therefore on very good terms with 
the French-speaking population. 

Nevertheless, it must be said that but for a 
handful of leaders the Negro population is more 
dull, more impassive, and ignorant than else- 
where. A black proletariat of a hundred thou- 
sand ought to be able to raise on its broad base 
a fme column of intelligence and business. 



IN FLOEIDA AND NEW ORLEANS 253 



There ought to be large and flourishing groups 

of doctors and lawyers and shopkeepers, but 
here, as at Birmingham, there is the usual 
Insurance Society's building, which is all-in-all. 
And Negro insurance is little more than the 
organization of burying clubs, with the Negro 
undertakers as prime beneficiaries. The biggest 
Negro business throughout the South is con- 
nected with burying Negroes. It is sad, but it is 
characteristic of this era of their development. 
New Orleans has its "Pythian Building,' 9 its 
temple of the Knights of Pythias, of which the 
debonair Mr. Green is Grand Master, not only 
for the State of Louisiana, but for the world. 
This is the civic center of the Negro's life in 
New Orleans, and, like the Penny Bank Build- 
ing of Birmingham, and its sister building at 
Jacksonville, houses many activities. The Pyth- 
ian Temple of New Orleans is said to be the 
finest Negro building in the United States. It 
is a fine edifice, and in America business is 
judged much more by the building it inhabits 
than in Europe. An integral part of the temple 
is a very useful theatre, not a cinema hall, but 
a genuine stage for the "legitimate" drama. 
Here, no doubt, the Knights of Pythias appear 
in full regalia and parade to do the pseudo 
ritual of the society. But the theatre is used 
for all manner of purposes. 

I was present one Sunday afternoon at a local 
meeting of the National Association. The South- 



254 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



ern White is opposed to the Association, and 
would do much to thwart it if he knew much 
about it. But the Southern Whites do not mix 
with Negro intellectuals, and are content to live 
in that paradise indicated by the mayor — We 
get on all right ivith them down here. 

When, however, a bad lynching takes place 
the local white population soon hears of the 
National Association. It sends its representa- 
tives down from New York to investigate the 
facts. In such cases facts are the last things 
the white community wish brought to light, and 
then the National Association is discovered and 
roundly abused. Its representatives are some- 
times white, which makes them more dangerous 
from a Southern point of view. Attempts are 
made to "railroad" them — run them out of 
town. 

The case of Mr. Shillady, in Texas, must be 
mentioned here. He is the white secretary of 
this militant association, and has done very 
valuable work for his country by investigating 
and authenticating the details of mob murders. 
Texas has a bad record for lynching, rioting, 
and lawlessness. The Texan people, however, 
would not have him, and he was actually 
thrashed publicly by a judge and a constable. 
It was done in front of the Driscoll Hotel, Aus- 
tin, where Shillady was staying. Having been 
assaulted in this way, he was put on a Northern 
train and told to leave it at his peril. The judrje 



IN FLOEIDA AND NEW OKLEANS 255 

remains still judge, the constable remains still 
a constable — if he be not now a sergeant or in- 
spector. When we sing 1 i Down Texas Way" 
that is what it means. 

The local meeting this Sunday afternoon was 
of a quarrelsome character. A well-known and 
devoted Negro leader had been accused in a New 
Orleans Negro paper of "selling out the col- 
ored folk" at St. Louis. There had been great 
enthusiasm in the forming of what is called the 
"American Legion," a national club of all who 
had served or worn an American uniform in 
the Great War. Negro membership of the 
Legion was apparently being barred in the 
South, and some wrong-headed Negro journal- 
ist had accused an old Creole Negro of attend- 
ing the St. Louis inaugural gathering of the 
Legion and agreeing that Negro soldiers and 
sailors should be excluded. 

A violent personal quarrel banged from man 
to man. As I was asked to speak, I told them 
I thought they could ill afford to quarrel among 
themselves. Nevertheless, I had noticed a 
marked disposition to quarrel among the edu- 
cated Negroes. Loyalty to one another was not 
one of their characteristics. No people could 
do much who did not prize unity more than 
discord. While so many were against them all, 
how absurd to spend an afternoon quarreling 
with one another! 

This was warmly applauded, though no doubt 



256 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



one might as well sit in Canute's chair and 6 i bid 
the main flood bate its usual height," as bid 
them cease to quarrel. They brought the fight- 
ing instinct out of Africa, and still longed to 
wield the battle-axe. 

Besides the Pythian Temple Block, New 
Orleans has also a sort of South Street, a cheap 
line of shops with " swell toggery " for Negroes. 
Negro suit-pressing establishments, barbers, 
and the like, pawnshops, and what not. This is 
South Eampart, and on it is the People's Drug 
Store, a hive of Negro life. Up above the store 
Mrs. Camille Cohen-Bell operates an insurance 
company, and her father, W. L. Cohen, runs 
for what it is worth in opinion (it cannot count 
much in votes), the Negro Republican party. 

During a fortnight in New Orleans I visited 
frequently this pleasant company of Negro 
Creoles, the well-educated Mrs. Bell, who loved 
to speak French, and her ebullient father. The 
place was haunted by undertakers. It appeared 
that when a Negro was insured in the company 
he was allotted to an undertaker in case of 
death. Undertakers therefore became very 
anxious when clients moved out of their parish. 
If any one fell sick away from home, and there 
was the likelihood of his dying and being buried 
by a stranger, the fret of the local buriers was 
comical. 

I met here a very advanced Negro lady who 
gave out very positive views on morality. The 



IN FLOEIDA AND NEW ORLEANS 257 



presence of a white man was perhaps a chal- 
lenge to her mind. Some white woman called 
Jean Gordon had been making a missionary ad- 
dress to the Negroes on moral purity and proper 
behavior at a large Baptist church. I did not 
hear Jean Gordon, but her black protagonist 
was so forceful I asked her to write a statement 
of what she thought. This was her answer to 
Jean Gordon : 

" • . . Jean Gordon states that every young 
colored girl knows no white man may marry her 
under the law, and if she brings into the world 
an illegitimate child she is not fit to be a mother. 
All very true. Now, I daresay that every young 
colored girl is aware of this fact, but, judging 
from the way the white men run after these 
colored girls, either they (the white men) are 
in ignorance of the law, or it is their object fla- 
grantly to disobey it. There is one thing I wish 
all white men and women to bear in mind, when 
they refer to illicit relations of white men and 
black women, and vice versa — it is this: the 
laws of this Southland are made by white men, 
and no sooner have they made these laws than 
they get busy finding ways to break them and 
evading punishment for so doing. It is a well- 
known fact that no Negro woman seeks the at- 
tentions of a white man — rather is the shoe on 
the other foot, and Negro women have a very 
hard time making Whites keep in their places. 
However, the attraction is not confined to the 



258 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



men of the white race, for good-looking colored 
men have as hard a time as the good-looking 
colored women. So, it seems to me that if Jean 
Gordon should address an audience of white 
men and women, and plead with them to teach 
their boys, husbands, brothers, and fathers the 
necessity of respecting the laws, and the women 
of all races, then colored young women would 
have no trouble keeping their virtue and their 
morals. All honor is due to the Negro women, 
for no one knows better than J ean Gordon her- 
self the terrible pressure brought against them 
by white men who seek to force their attentions 
on them. The wonder of it is that so many of 
them are able to hold out against such odds, but 
God is in His heaven and does not sleep. So, 
I say, let the white women get busy and teach 
morality and respect to their own, and we shall 
see how that will work out. As for illegitimate 
children, the bearing of these is not confined to 
women of the Negro race by any means. The 
white infant asylums will give ample proof of 
this. "We know full well that a white man may 
not marry a colored girl in the South, but we 
wonder just why it is he does not marry the 
white girl whom he seduces? I am able to give 
a partial reason— THE FOECE OF HABIT! 
The white man has grown so accustomed to se- 
ducing Negro women and getting by with it, 
that the virtue of his own women has come to 
mean nothing to him. 



IN FLORIDA AND NEW ORLEANS 259 



"We now come to Jean Gordon's statement 
relative to 'wild stories are being circulated 
that the Negro won the great world war. . . . 9 
No intelligent Negro can claim that the Negro 
won the world war, but every intelligent man, 
woman, and child, in this country and on the 
other side, is aware that the Negro did his share 
in winning it over there, and did his full share 
over here. The Negro has participated in every 
war in which this country has engaged, and at 
no time did he retreat nor show the yellow 
streak. No one can cite an instance where a 
Negro protested against going to the front. 
Against propaganda that was overwhelming, 
the Negro remained loyal. The first Negroes to 
set foot on French soil were from Louisiana — 
longshoremen ; they were not soldiers, true, but 
they did what they were sent to do, and did it 
well. Very few white regiments from Louisiana 
saw the firing line, yet they are all soldiers. No 
doubt, had they been sent to the front, they 
would have fought, but so would every black 
citizen of the United States. However, if it is 
true that 1 comparatively few of them fought 
when the total of the millions of white men 
who died in that struggle is considered/ the 
reason for that is that the South did its level 
best to keep the Negro out of the war as a sol- 
dier. And it must be known that every white 
man who fought and died was not an American ! 
Every black man who fought did his part credit- 



260 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



ably, as has ever been the case. Whole Negro 
regiments were decorated by the French, and 
bear in mind that among those who were the 
first to be decorated by the French were Ameri- 
can Negroes! As for the fighting qualities of 
the Negro, all I need do is to refer any 4 doubt- 
ing Thomas' to Xon Hill. Nothing more need 
be said. And I repeat for all concerned that 
while the Negro did not win the world war, he 
did his share in helping to win it over there, 
and he and his women who remained over here 
helped to win it by laboring and giving funds. 
. . . The Negro dug trenches, he fought, he 
died on the battlefield, he gave of his money and 
his labor over here, and his women gave of their 
money and labor. Did the Negro help win the 
great world war? I'll say he did!!! Will any- 
one say he did not? If anyone has done more, 
let him come forward. 

"Before concluding, I wish to ask Jean Gor- 
don just why it is she and the women of the 
South are so bitterly opposed to giving suffrage 
to Negro women? Do they fear us? Yea, they 
need to fear us, for we have made up our minds 
that we are going to help our men of the South 
get their rights, and Jean Gordon, being a 
woman, is fully aware that when a woman wills 
a thing, it is as good as done. The Negro men 
are going to come out on top, and their women 
are going to see to it. The Negro men are going 
to learn to protect their women from the snares 



IN FLOEIDA AND NEW ORLEANS 261 



of white men, and their women are going to help 
them do this, too ... No longer does a Negro 
woman consider it an honor to have a white 
man for a € friend 9 — a lover; gradually have we 
made her understand that it is an insult, and 
she now tells her father, brother, or husband, 
as the case may be, and it is up to this man to 
defend the virtue of his female relative, in the 
same way the white man defends his. No more 
do we hear nice-looking colored boys bragging 
that such and such a white woman is quite crazy; 
for him, for we have shown him that her affec- 
tion for him is likely to lead him into trouble, 
so, having quite a variety of colors to choose 
from in the women of his own race (thanks to 
the white man for that), the Negro boy runs 
along with the kind of girl who pleases him, 
and keeps out of trouble. Very often, though, 
the "White does not let him stay out of trouble 
— there are so many ways devised by these nice 
white people to hurt the Negro who is peace- 
ably bent. The Negro has been patient, true, 
but we all know there is an end to all patience. 
I hope the time has come when the Whites of 
this section will take up more time in improving 
themselves and less time in seeing the error of 
our ways. We both of us have much to do, but 
we Negroes are aware of it, and are anxious 
to improve ourselves, but we are unable to take 
pattern after those who are more in need of les- 
sons than we, The Negro is bound to come out 



262 THE SOUL OE JOHN BROWN 



on top — even though he is in a hopeless minor- 
ity. Right will ever and always crush Might; 
for reference, see William Hohenzollern!" 

By this sulphurous little smoke one may know 
of subterranean fire. When the earthquake 
comes the Jean Gordons will fall down and 
the new Negro woman will stand forth. White 
society in places like New Orleans may one day 
be overthrown unless it can live for ideals and 
reform its institutions. Much depends on the 
law which is corrupted and much on the 
churches now in decay. Literature in New 
Orleans is nigh dead, so I will not mention that. 



xn 



THE NEW MIND OF THE NEGEO 

Resentment is the main characteristic of the 
Negro forward movement. In endeavoring to 
understand the Negro mind a maximum is 
gained by answering the question: What does 
it mean to have been a slave? Analysis of racial 
consciousness at once brings to light in the case 
of the Negro a slave mentality. He has been 
pre-dispositioned by slavery. 

To have been a slave, or to be the child of a 
slave, means to have an old unpaid grudge in 
the blood; to have, in fact, resentment either 
smouldering or abeyant or militant. If it does 
not develop in the slave it will develop in the 
child of the slave or the child of the child. It 
may not take a violent form. Certain circum- 
stances, such as prosperity, have power to neu- 
tralize it. On the other hand, certain other cir- 
cumstances have power to bring it more rapidly 
to a head. The virus feeds on grievances, will 
even feed on imaginary grievances, but most 
certainly will grow apace on real grievances. 
In all seriousness, there is nothing like burning 
people alive for bringing out active spite and 
hate. Because of burning and lynching, the 



263 



264 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



whole of American Negrodom swells larger in 
resentment, day by day, and moon by moon. 

The character of ex-slave, and the child of 
one who was a slave, is aptly shown by the way 
the Negro treats animals, in the way also in 
which he treats those Negroes who happen to 
come under him. 

It is appalling to hear a Negro say to a horse 
struggling with a heavy load : "I'll take a stick 
and beat you to death,' ' and to realize that the 
voice of the tyrannous master is being repeated 
as by a human phonograph. If the American 
Negroes are more cruel to animals, though 
quick to understand their ways, it is because 
they conceive of themselves as masters and the 
animals as their slaves. 

For while a man is a slave he is learning in 
one way to be a master. A slave's children are 
more ready to be tyrannous than the children 
of one who never has been a slave. "When a 
slave is being flogged he is learning racially how 
to flog when he gets a chance. His children will 
have a flogging spirit in them. When he is being 
tortured he is learning how to torture. 

The Anglo-Saxon looks upon animals as 
friends and equals. He loves his horse and his 
dog, he honors the fox and the bear. Not so the 
Negro, the Russian peasant, the Jew. They 
have an attitude toward the animals which is 
quite other. And toward human beings in 
their power or employ they often have a point 



THE NEGEO'S NEW MIND 265 



of view which is hateful. The peasant workman 
in the power of the Kulak peasant, the Jewish 
seamstress in the power of the Jew who owns 
the 1 1 sweatshop, 9 9 the Negro workman under 
the Negro boss or foreman ! To be in the power 
of a master is bad, but to be in the power of a 
slave is so much worse ! 

In a land where the slave class is gaining 
power there is therefore a great deal of resent- 
ment in the air. America has it ; Eussia has it. 
To-day all the world has it. In the Great War 
the youth of almost every country underwent 
the yoke of military slavery, and what resent- 
ment there is against the masters ! In Germany, 
where that slavery was worst, it raised Sparta- 
cus from death. And who was this Spartacua 
who has suddenly become a type and given a 
name to a movement? Himself a slave, he led 
an insurrection of slaves against Eome. The 
masters defeated him and killed him, and the 
heads of hundreds of his followers were impaled 
on spikes upon all roads which led to Eome — a 
warning and a witness to all other slaves of 
that and other times. Bitter and malignant 
blood-stained faces stared at the passers-by 
upon the Eoman highway. They stare still in 
history, and they stare to-day, not from pikes, 
but from an infinite number of children of 
slaves. Spartacus lives. 

What is called the Spartacus movement in 
Germany is called Bolshevism in Eussia. Bol- 



266 THE SOUL OF JOHX BROWN 



shevism is eminently a slave movement. The 
children of the serfs have grasped everything. 
Its first expression has been class war and re- 
venge on the master class. There is so much of 
slave in the Eussian that his racial name is 
Slav. Now comes out all the resentment and 
ill feeling of centuries. Unlike the followers of 
Spartacus, the Eussian serf has triumphed, and 
instead of having his head impaled he has been 
able to impale the heads of his masters. From 
his example all slaves and children of slaves 
throughout the world have taken courage. Rus- 
sian serfs and military slaves and wage slaves 
and Negroes are finding an accord, and here we 
have the foundation for a grand proletarian 
revolutionary movement throughout the world. 

It may be objected that the American Negroes 
are not Bolshevik. They are not in name, but 
they are potentially of the same spirit. They 
hate the white proletariat because the latter uses 
them ill, but curiously enough they have a com- 
mon cause. The leaders of the Negro forward 
movement are almost exclusively Bolshevik in 
spirit. We cannot wonder at it. Persecution 
has developed a great resentment and class 
hate. "When the time comes, Dr. Du Bois and 
Johnson and Walter White and Pickens and 
the rest will know whose side they are on in the 
great world straggle. 

There are those who will say that if ever the 
lynching mob become the victims of the enraged 



THE NEGRO'S NEW MIND 267 



Negroes no one will shed tears but the lynchers 

themselves. They say the lyncher knows that he 
is wrong and has been told so often enough. 
Thus, in a pedagogic way, think the wiseheads 
who do not stray out of doors when a Negro is 
being killed. Thus think also the governors of 
the States, the sheriffs, the judges, the police, 
and the law. But they are fond and foolish. 
It is not the lynching crowd on whom vengeance 
will ultimately be taken. The Negro mob, when 
it rises, may easily join with the lynchers and 
make common cause against those who should 
have administered the law, and against those 
who have stood idly by. In those days we may 
see the ugly crowd making its way to the Pilate 
governors, who so often wash their hands, and 
beating them to death and burning their wives. 
That is the real movement. There is nothing 
very reasonable in it, but the risen mob is not 
guided by logic. 

Resentment is the principal feeling of the 
Negro soldiers returned from France. It is an 
example of how modern life, undirected, uncon- 
trolled, and unadvised, is manufacturing ever 
and ever more of the dangerous stuff of revo- 
lution. 

A policy as to the use of Negro citizens in the 
Great "War was not come to in the United 
States. Once more the seemingly unworkable 
theories of the Declaration of Independence and 
the Constitution were applied equally to the 



268 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



Negro as to the white man, as if the Negro were 
only a white man with a dark skin. Negroes 
were conscripted equally with white men, 
drilled and equipped, and sent to France, with- 
out any regard to the two vital questions : 

1. Is it fitting, and can America condone the 
use of colored troops to fight white ene- 
mies? 

2. When many white citizens have such a 
violent animus against the Negro, is it 
practicable to use the latter in the army? 

The first of these questions was evaded by 
America as it had been from the first by 
France. There are many who think that the 
use of 1 ' native " troops against the Germans 
was more indefensible than the German use of 
poison gas. For, by using colored troops against 
Whites in a white man's quarrel, the moral 
leadership of the Whites is obviously thrown 
away, and there are bound to be serious after- 
effects in the weakening of morale. 

The second question was merely an important 
practical detail that had been overlooked. Theo- 
retically, all American citizens are equal. The 
laws apply without distinction of race or color. 
In practice, equality is denied. What more nat- 
ural than to continue in the theoretical assump- 
tion of equality, and hope that divergency in 
practice might be overlooked. What more ab- 
surd, however, than to take a man who is being 



THE NEGRO'S NEW MIND 



269 



illegally disfranchised by the community and 
make him fight for that community? 

The Northern white soldier did not, however, 
feel ill disposed toward the black soldier, and I 
have met those who saw deeds of heroism done 
by Negroes, and many who saw them wounded 
and suffering in the common cause, and felt 
drawn toward them, to help them and their 
brothers. But whatever may have been the com- 
mon feeling about Negro soldiers in the United 
States, it was definitely hostile to them in the 
camps in France. There emerged two charac- 
teristic points of view: (1) That it was good 
to kill off as many Negroes as possible, as that 
helped to solve the Negro problem. (2) That the 
Negro was not worthy to fight for his country. 

Not much for patriotism to feed on there I 
There seems never to have been any resolve to 
make first-class Negro regiments, and those 
linits who served in France were by no means 
adequately trained. By all competent accounts 
they were very slack, and it goes without say- 
ing that an almost superhuman effort of disci- 
pline was necessary to obtain complete steadi- 
ness in this terrible war. It was common to 
endeavor to terrorize the Negroes by alarming 
and exaggerated accounts of the horrors of bat- 
tle. Negroes were talked to by Whites in a very 
unsoldiery way. Baiting them and scaring them 
was thought to be better sport than dealing with 



270 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



them sternly and seriously. There is no doubt 
also that some white soldiers rejoiced to see the 
Negro put back into the slavery position and 
forced to obey on pain of death. There are those 
"who cannot forgive the Negro having got free 
from slavery, and for them the spectacle of the 
Negro in the rank and file afforded much pleas- 
ure. Threating Negroes with a court-martial 
and death sentence became a characteristic jest. 

The white man, however, soon found that the 
Negro fell into the humor of the war more 
readily than into the tragedy of it. It agreed 
with his own sense of humor. It was soon im- 
possible to scare the raw recruits with yarns. 
The idea of running away from a machine gun 
became natural and hilarious. The dangers 
from night-bombing raiders over the lines were 
facetiously exaggerated. Hiding best became a 
humorous point of honor, and one Negro would 
vaunt against another how far he fled. Private 
soldiers chaffed their officers on the subject of 
death. Asked what "going over the top" meant, 
the raw recruit would answer: "I know; it 
means Good mornm', Jesus.' ' In short, in 
nearly every Negro unit there set in a humor- 
esque attitude to the war. 

Officer: The Germans are going to start 

an offensive. 

Negro Soldier: That so, cap? Then 

we'se spread the news over France. 
As the popular joke has it. 



THE NEGRO'S NEW MIND 271 



The Negro officer then began to receive the 
white man's attention. Having trained many 
colored officers, Negroes often of education and 
means and refinement, and having given them 
commission and uniform, the Staff came to the 
conclusion that they had made a mistake. The 
white Southern officer stirred up trouble, the 
white ranker would not salute. There was the 
usual sordid squabble in officers' messes. And 
then the upshot — a great number of Negro offi- 
cers subjected to the humiliation of losing their 
commissions and being placed in the ranks. 
This discouragement necessarily set the Negro 
officer thinking. It cultivated his resentment. 
It sowed in his heart the seed of national 
disaffection. 

The next serious trouble was that of the 
French women and the Negro. The indifference 
of white women whether the man they walked 
with was black or brown or white was taken as 
an intolerable affront by Southerners. They felt 
called upon to interfere and save the French 
woman from herself. The rape legend was im- 
ported, and every effort was made to infect the 
French male with race prejudice. Happily, the 
propaganda failed. For one thing, Puritanism 
does not easily take root in a French heart, and 
for another, the French have no instinctive hor- 
ror of Negroes. Possibly the rape legend even 
made the Negro a little ornamental from the 
point of view of amour. i 1 Black American 



272 THE SOUL OF JOHN BEOWN 



troops in France have given rise to as many 
complaints of attempted rape as all the rest of 
the army 'Les troupes noires Americaines en 
France ont donne lien, a elle seules, a antant 
de plaintes ponr tentatives de viol, que tont le 
reste de l'Armee,' " as an army order pnts it. 

Negro honor, however, demands that the 
charge be rebutted, and the matter has been 
thoroughly investigated. There does not seem 
to be much in it. As every one knows who 
served in the ranks, women of easy virtue were 
extremely plentiful and complaisant. The need 
might easily have been to protect the Negro 
from the women rather than the women from 
the Negro. 

The fact is simply that the Negro walking 
with a white woman is to the Southern Ameri- 
can "White as a red rag to a bull. And as by 
nature this White is unrestrained and unrea- 
sonable, he seeks by all means, fair or foul, to 
part them. 

Finally, the culmination of the story of the 
American Negro in the war is that the White 
denied him any valor or prowess or military 
virtue of any kind, said the Negro was a coward 
and a runaway and utterly useless in the fight- 
ing line. Fighting units were taken off their 
allotted duty and changed to labor units. Eegi- 
nients were ordered home ; whole brigades were 
given as a present to the grateful French, They 



THE NEGKO'S NEW MIND 273 



may have been rather inefficient. But, if so, that 
was due to bad training. Negroes have fought 
magnificently in America's wars of the past. 
They are a great fighting race, and they are 
capable of discipline. 

I listened when at New Orleans to a lecture 
given by Sergeant Needham Eoberts of the 
369th U. S. Infantry, a handsome young Negro 
warrior, twice wounded, the first American to 
be decorated by the French Government. He 
was entirely patriotic, and made the apathetic 
Negro audience stand to sing the "Star-Span- 
gled Banner." He told how he ran away from 
home to enlist, trained with a mass of black 
strangers, went across the ocean — quite a terri- 
fying experience for some of these young sol- 
diers, who but for the war had never crossed 
the sea. He gave his first impressions of France 
and of the line, the exaggerated fright of shell 
explosions and night attacks and bombs from 
the air. They were just getting used to the first 
aspect of war when one day the news flew 
round — "We are all ordered home again.' ' 
Official orders to that effect quickly followed. 
They had all packed up and were marching to 
entrain for Cherbourg when, according to the 
sergeant, Foch intervened. 

"Why are you sending them back?" said he. 

"They are not wanted." 

Foch seemed astonished. 



274 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



"If you cannot use thera, I can/' said the 
French marshal. 

And then, hurray! — we were attached to the 
French. 

It was no playground, the French front, but, 
as ever, a sterner piece of reality than Ameri- 
can or British. The Xegroes were hotly en- 
gaged and had many casualties. Roberts won 
his Croix de Guerre for a feat which he per- 
formed with his chum, Pete Johnson. They had 
been left at an advanced listening post and ap- 
parently overlooked — not relieved for three 
days and three nights. The division had been 
relieved. On the third night the Germans made 
a raid which the two Negro soldiers repelled by 
themselves, first throwing out their bombs, then 
firing, and finishing with a remarkable bit of 
butchery with the bayonet. The Germans whom 
they did not put out of action they put to flight. 
How many Germans lay dead it would be diffi- 
cult to say. The number probably grew like 
those of Falstaff's men in buckram, but I did 
hear twenty mentioned. 

There was no doubt about the fact that Ser- 
geant Roberts was a jolly soldier — a 1 1 bonny 
faeehter" — and he made himself on good terms 
with his audience very quickly. He came from 
New York, and had swung along Fifth Avenue 
with the heroes of Xew York's Fighting Fif- 
teenth. He was full of the faith of the North, 
horribly depressed by the atmosphere of the 



THE NEGRO'S NEW MIND 275 



South, above all by the passivity and apathy of 
the Negroes of New Orleans. He had better 
keep north of the Mason-Dixon line, for he is 
evidently a born fighter 

If the war itself was a persistent educator of 
the Negro, his subsequent treatment after the 
Armistice enforced very terribly what he 
learned. It would be hardly worth while to en- 
large on this in detail. The fact which I wished 
to isolate is the growing resentment of the col- 
ored people, the fact that some twelve millions 
are becoming highly charged with resentment. 

As illustration of this resentment one could 
quote much from the spoken and the written 
word of the Negroes. But a poem, or part of 
a poem, may suffice. It is Archibald Grimke's 
"Thirteen Black Soldiers. " The 24th United 
States Infantry, a Negro regiment, was sent to 
Houston, Texas, and was received with lack of 
sympathy and some hostility by the population. 
A series of petty troubles culminated in a riot 
and mutiny. Sixty-four Negroes were court- 
martialled, and thirteen were sentenced to 
death, and hanged. It seems to show a lack of 
foresight to station a Negro regiment among 
such a hostile people as the Texans. They are 
more' the enemies of the Negroes than were the 
Germans, and there was certainty of trouble. 
Grimke's poem expresses the boiling resent- 
ment to which I have referred. 



276 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



Sue hanged them, her thirteen black soldiers, 

She hanged them for mutiny and murder, 

She hanged them after she had put on them her uniform, 

After she had put on them her uniform, the uniform of her 

soldiers, 

She told them they were to be brave, to fight and, if needs 

be, to die for her. 
This was many years before she hanged them, her thirteen 

black soldiers. 
She told them to go there and they went, 
To come here and they came, her brave black soldiers. 
For her they went without food and water, 
For her they suffered cold and heat, 
For her they marched by day, 
For her they watched by night, 
For her in strange lands they stood fearless, 
For her in strange lands they watched shelterless, 
For her in strange lands they fought, 
For her in strange lands they bled, 
For her they faced fevers and fierce men, 
For her they were always and everywhere ready to die. 
And now she has hanged them, her thirteen black soldiers. 
For murder and mutiny she hanged them in anger and hate. 
Hanged them in secret and dark and disgrace, 
In secret and dark she disowned them, 
In secret and dark buried them and left them in nameless 

disgrace. 

Why did she hang them, her thirteen black soldiers? 

What had they done to merit such fate? 

She sent them to Houston, to Houston, in Texas, 

She sent them in her uniform to this Southern city, 

She sent them, her soldiers, her thirteen brave soldiers, 

They went at her bidding to Houston, 

They went where they were ordered. 

They could not choose another place, 

For they were soldiers and went where they were ordered. 
They marched into Houston not knowing what awaited 

them. 

Insult awaited them and violence. 

Insult and violence hissed at them from house windows and 

struck at them in the streets, 
American colorphobia hissed and struck at them as they 

passed by on the streets. 
In the street cars they met discrimination and insult, 
"They are not soldiers, they and their uniforms, 



THE NEGKO'S NEW MIND 277 



They are but common niggers, 

They must be treated like common niggers, 

They and their uniform." 

So hissed colorphobia, indigenous to Texas. 

And then it squirted its venom on them, 

Squirted its venom on them and on their uniform. 

And what did she do, she who put that uniform on them, 
And bade them to do and die if needs be for her? 
Did she raise an arm to protect them? 
Did she raise her voice to frighten away the reptilian 
thing? 

Did she lift a finger or say a word of rebuke at it? 
Did she do anything in defence of her black soldiers? 
She did nothing. She sat complacent, indifferent in her 
seat of power. 

She had eyes, but she refused to see what Houston was 

doing to her black soldiers, 
She had ears, but she stuffed them with cotton, 
That she might not hear the murmured rage of her black 

soldiers, 

They suffered alone, they were defenceless against insult 
and violence, 

For she would not see them nor hear them nor protect 
them. 

Then in desperation they smote the reptilian thing, 
They smote it as they had smitten before her enemies, 
For was it not her enemy, the reptilian thing, as well as 
their own? 

They in an hour of madness smote it in battle furiously, 
And it shrank back from their blows hysterical, 
Terror and fear of death seized it, and it cried unto her to 
help. 

And she, who would not hear her black soldiers in their 
dire need, 

She, who put her uniform on them, heard their enemy. 
She flew at its call and hanged her brave black soldiers. 
She hanged them for doing for themselves what she ought 

to have done for them, 
She hanged them for resenting insult to her uniform, 
She hanged them for defending from violence her brave 

black soldiers. 

They marched with the dignity of brave men to the gallows, 
With the souls of warriors they marched without a whim- 
per to their doom. 
And so they were hanged, her thirteen black soldiers, 
And so they lie buried iu nameless disgrace, 



278 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



Is the watchword of Dr. Du Bois to be won- 
dered? — 

We return. 

We return from fighting. 
We return fighting. 

I met at Memphis, Tennessee, one of the few 
Southern white men who are sympathetic to the 
Negro and understand the gravity of the situa- 
tion. This was Mr. Bolton Smith, a rich busi- 
ness man, a member of the Rotary Club quand 
meme. As one who among other activities ad- 
vances money on the security of real estate in 
the MississijDpi Delta, he necessarily has been 
brought' a great deal into contact with the 
Negro. Society in Memphis looked at him some- 
what askance because he did not share the cur- 
rent conventional view, but he was not black- 
balled, only indulgently laughed at as one who 
had a weak spot in his mental armor. In places 
remote from Memphis, however, his views 
receive weighty consideration. 

If he had his way he would give the Negro 
his right and his due, and stop lynching. He 
does not believe the Negro wishes 1 ' social equal- 
ity,'' the right to mix indiscriminately with 
white people, in schools, in trains, in marriage. 
He thinks the Negro prefers to be separate as 
long as there is no implied dishonor. He made 
a special study of the Frederick Douglass 
School at Cincinnati, an all black school which 
is admirably conducted, and found that by 



THE NEGRO'S NEW MIND 279 



themselves the Negroes progress more than 
when mixed with Whites. As Cincinnati is a 
city on the northern fringe, with northern in- 
stitutions, the Negroes had the choice to go to 
mixed schools with white children if they de- 
sired, but they preferred to be by themselves, 
and indeed did better by themselves. As regards 
Jim Crow cars, Smith said he would give 
equal comfort and equal facilities in colored 
cars and in colored waiting rooms. He does not 
think the Negro desires to be in a Pullman car 
where there are white women. It works without 
scandal in the North, but there is too much risk 
of the woman going into hysterics in the South, 
and the Negro getting lynched at a wayside sta- 
tion. He believes in abandoning "the policy of 
pin pricks,' 9 and, above all, in suppressing 
lynching and race riot. 

He was, however, strongly opposed to Du 
Bois and the National Association. He con- 
sidered that Du Bois was leading the Negroes 
wrongly, leading them in fact to a worse calam- 
ity than any which had yet overtaken them. "If 
the Negro resorts to force, ' 9 said Mr. Smith to 
me, "he will be destroyed. In peace and in 
law the white man fails to understand how to 
handle the Negro, but if it comes to force, the 
issue becomes quite simple for the white man, 
and the Negro stands little more chance than 
a savage. Christianity alone can save the 
Negro, and the leaders of the National Associa- 



280 THE SOUL OF JOHN BEOWN 



tion are leading the people away from Chris- 
tianity." He wished all Negroes could see how 
fatal it is for them to abandon Christianity. 

i 1 If it were not for the lynchings, the National 
Association and its newspaper would shrink to 
very small proportions. Every time a Negro is 
lynched it adds a thousand to the circulation of 
the Crisis, and a burning adds ten thousand," 
said he. 

"Hell would soon lose its heat should sin ex- 
pire," said I. I was inclined to agree that the 
only way was through Christianity. But there 
is such a thing as the wrath of God, and it is 
not incompatible with Divine Fatherhood and 
all-merciful Providence. John Brown has been 
greatly condemned, but he was not outside 
Christianity — surely he was a child of God. He 
used to think that without much shedding of 
blood the crimes of this guilty land could be 
purged away, but now . . . 

I do not think the white South will be able 
to avert the wrath of God by machine guns, nor 
will it quell the Negro by force once the Negro 
moves from the depths of his being. Better than 
believe in meeting the great wrath is to be ad- 
vised betimes and mend one's ways. Was not 
the Civil War a sufficient bloodletting? Could 
not the lesson be learned? 

It is certainly in vain to work directly against 
Du Bois when his power as a leader of revolt 
could be removed utterly by stopping the lynch- 



NEGRO LEADERSHIP 281 



ing. The U. S. Postmaster General refused 
postal facilities to one number of his newspaper 
because it was going too far in stirring up sedi- 
tion, but it was ineffectual, and was, on the con- 
trary, a useful advertisement for the paper. 
And then, is it not known there are far more 
advanced groups of Negroes than that of the 
association of which Dr. Du Bois is president? 
There are those who laugh Du Bois to scorn 
as a Moderate. There are those who have sworn 
that for every Negro done to death by the mob 
two white men shall somehow perish. An eye 
for an eye and a tooth for a tooth is the gospel 
—or rather, two eyes for one. Something is 
being started which will not cease with a recital 
of the Beatitudes. If America does not cast out 
the devil of class hate from the midst of her she 
will again be ravished by the Angel of Death as 
in the Civil "War. The established peaceful rou- 
tine of a country like America is very deceptive. 
All seems so permanent, so unshakable. The 
new refinement, the new politeness and well- 
lined culture, and vast commercial organiza- 
tion and press suggest that no calamity could 
overtake them. The force that makes for dis- 
ruption and anarchy is generated silently and 
secretly. It accumulates, accumulates, and one 
day it must discharge itself. Its name is resent- 
ment, and its first expression is revenge. 



XIII 

NEGRO LEADERSHIP 

Dr. W. E. Bueghabdt Dtj Bois, as the leader of 
the militant movement, is the greatest force 
among the Negroes to-day. Light of skin, short 
of stature, square-headed, he would pass easily 
in Southern Europe or in Russia as a white 
man. He looks rather like a highly polished 
Jewish professor. Considered carefully, how- 
ever, it will be realized that behind an impassive 
mask-like face is an emotional and fiery nature. 
There is a white heat of resentment in him, and 
a decision not to forgive. Possibly his devotion 
to the cause and the race drags him down a 
little. For he is possessed of an unusual literary 
genius. The fire that ran in the veins of Dumas 
and of Pushkin is in him also, and as a master 
of the written word he stands entirely without 
rival in the American Negro world. In that re- 
spect he is altogether a greater man than 
Booker T. Washington. The latter was a prac- 
tical genius, and what is gall and wormwood 
in the bosom of Du Bois was the milk of human 
kindness in his more sooty, natural breast. " I ? m 
going to shout 'Glory !' when this world is afire, 
and I don't feel noways tired/* he used always 



282 



NEGRO LEADERSHIP 283 



to be saying. 1 1 Booker T.," as he is affection- 
ately called, was the wonderful colored baby of 
the first days of freedom. His, "Up from 
Slavery," which he wrote, and the vocational 
institute of Tuskegee, Alabama, are the chief 
monuments which he left behind him. But his 
portrait is almost as common in Negro cabins 
as pictures of the Tsar used to be in Russian 
izbas. "Our Booker T.," the Negroes say lov- 
ingly and possessingly, looking upon the first 
of their number who rose from the dark depths 
of servitude, first fruits of them that slept. 
Freedom and Hope raised Booker T. Washing- 
ton, but now he is dead a new time needs a new 
leader. Fain would the Whites have "Booker 
T." back. The amenable Negro leader is much 
more to their taste than the militant one. 

Many years ago Du Bois wrote "Souls of 
Black Folk," which is a fascinating personal 
study. It has a true literary quality which raises 
it from the ruck of ephemeral publications to 
an enduring place. It is, however, immature. 
There is an emphasis of personal culture, and a 
note of self-pity, which a more developed writer 
would have been at pains to transmute. But 
the gift is unmistakable. You perceive it again 
and in better measure in "Darkwater," pub- 
lished this year. 

It has taken the war and the recent increased 
persecution of the Negro people to bring out 
the real power of Du Bois, As a labor leader 



284 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



said to me, "He is first of all a statesman and 
a politician. He is leading the Negroes. I won- 
der where he will lead them to ? 9 9 

Certainly no other Negro in the United States 
is regarded by so many others as his leader. No 
doubt most of the quiet, cautions, and tradi- 
tionally religious Negroes fight shy of him. But 
they, for their part, have no leader. Dr. Moton, 
the lineal descendant of Booker Washington at 
Tuskegee Institute, is only a leader in the sense 
that Dr. Arnold of Eugby might be considered a 
leader. He is there in his place. He is a great 
light, and is taken for granted. 

In August, 1919, Dr. Moton wrote to the 
President, warning him of the growing ten- 
sion: 

"I want especially to call your attention to 
the intense feeling on the part of the colored 
people throughout the country toward white 
people, and the apparent revolutionary attitude 
of many Negroes, which shows itself in a desire 
to have justice at any cost. The riots in Wash- 
ington and Chicago and near riots in many other 
cities have not surprised me in the least. I pre- 
dicted in an address several months ago, at the 
fiftieth anniversary of the Hampton Institute, 
on the second of May — ex-President Taft and 
Mr. George Foster Peabody were present at the 
time — that this would happen if the matter was 
not taken hold of vigorously by the thoughtful 
elements of both races. 



NEGRO LEADERSHIP 285 



"I think the time is at hand, and I think of 
nothing that would have a more salutary effect 
on the whole situation now than if you should 
in your own wise way, as you did a year ago, 
make a statement regarding mob law; laying 
especial stress on lynching and every form of 
injustice and unfairness. You would lose noth- 
ing by specifically referring to the lynching rec- 
ord in the past six months ; many of them have 
been attended with unusual horrors, and it 
would be easy to do it now because of the two 
most recent riots in the North, notably, Wash- 
ington and Chicago. The South was never 
more ready to listen than at present to that 
kind of advice, and it would have a tremen- 
dously stabilizing effect, as I have said, on the 
members of my race. 

"You very probably saw the account of the 
lynching in Georgia of an old colored man sev- 
enty years of age, who shot one of two intoxi- 
cated white men in his attempt to protect two 
colored girls who had been commanded to come 
out of their home in the night by these two 
men. The colored man killed the white man 
after he had been shot by one of the white men 
because he had simply protested. 

"I am enclosing the lynching record for the 
past six months and an editorial from the 
Atlanta Constitution, which strongly denounces 
mob violence. 

"With all kind wishes, and assuring you of 



286 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



no desire to add to your burdens, but simply 
to call attention to what seems to me vital not 
only for ffie interest of the twelve millions of 
black people, but equally as important for the 
welfare of the millions of Whites whom they 
touch, I am, 

1 1 Very sincerely and gratefully, 

"R. R. Moton." ■ 

In reply to this letter, President Wilson 
wrote Dr. Moton as follows : 
*'My dear Dr. Moton: 

1 'Thank you sincerely for your letter of Au- 
gust eighth. It conveys information and sug- 
gestions, the importance of which I fully realize 
and for which I am sincerely obliged. I will 
take the suggestions you make under very seri- 
ous consideration, because I realize how crit- 
ical the situation has become and how impor- 
tant it is to steady affairs in every possible way. 

" Again thanking you for your public-spirited 
co-operation, 

' 1 Cordially and sincerely yours, 

"Woodbow Wilson." 

With this conventional reply the matter 
closes, and things in America became steadily 
worse in the months which followed. The twi- 
light peace of Tuskegee has been in contrast 
with the loud, clamorous denunciations from 



NEGRO LEADERSHIP 287 



JDr. Du Bois. For Du Bois gives forth new 
words of leadership each month. He has a voice 
like a trumpet and must be heard. Therefore, 
he is the leader. 

Associated with him are many brilliant men 
of whom the most powerful is the poet and 
orator, James Welldon Johnson, a darker man 
than Du Bois, slender and taller. He is ener- 
getic, and may constantly be heard from plat- 
forms in New York and elsewhere. I heard him 
speak. I was not moved by him as by Dean 
Pickens, but he is more intense and has the 
reputation of extraordinary brilliance at times. 

If the persecution were lifted from off the 
Negro race there would doubtless be room for 
quiet educational leadership, and flamboyancy 
would fail. White sympathizers such as Mr. 
Bolton Smith of Memphis emphasize the value 
of the quieter, more unobtrusive work done in 
places like Piney Woods School, the Frederick 
Douglass School, by Laurence Jones and Prin- 
cipal Russell. But of course peaceful growth is 
impossible until the mass of the people are 
guaranteed against the present terrifying mob 
violence and general social injustice. 

On the other hand, it does not follow that 
Du Bois is a new Moses leading his people to a 
Promised Land. He may be leading them to 
terrific bloodshed and slaughter. He may be 
leading them to a complete racial fiasco, not 
because he wants to do so or can do otherwise, 



288 THE SOUL OF JOHN BEOWN 



but because perhaps that fiasco is written on 
the American Negro's card of destiny. 

The Negroes are arming themselves. They 
are more ready to retaliate — to quote a letter 
from Memphis : i 6 There is an increased deter- 
mination on the part of great numbers of 
Negroes to defend their rights by force. . . . The 
Negro is emotional, and the masses of them are 
quite ready to think they are oppressed in mat- 
ters in which they are not oppressed at all, and 
therefore to use force on unjustifiable occasions. 
This shows itself in the increased use of fire- 
arms by petty thieves against the police. A 
Negro was arrested here recently on the charge 
of selling stolen chickens. His home was known. 
It was inconceivable that the ordinary white 
petty thief would shoot officers of the law in 
order to prevent an arrest which probably would 
have resulted in a comparatively small punish- 
ment, but this man murdered an officer and is 
to be hung. The same thing has occurred here 
several times. Under these circumstances it is 
difficult to induce' the police to hold the proper 
attitude toward the Negro. They never know 
when he is going to shoot, and so it is natural 
that they should shoot a Negro much quicker 
than they would a white man. This begets in 
its turn a feeling of resentment which makes 
the relations between the Negro and the police 
more difficult. I cannot emphasize too strongly 
the fact that when a minority tries to protect 



THE WORLD ASPECT 289 



itself — although it may use only the weapons 

which the majority in the past has been accus- 
tomed to use in defending itself against tyranny, 
the minority is apt to find itself condemned 
in the eyes of the public. Take the attitude 
which the mass of Americans are occupying 
with reference to the Eeds and their deporta- 
tion. ... A small number of the Reds have 
appealed to force — the whole crowd are more 
or less outlawed by American public opinion. 
"What I am apprehensive of if the Negroes con- 
tinue to follow Du Bois is just such an embifr- 
terment of relations between the two races. I 
do not believe that the race relation in Chicago 
is the better for the race riot. On the other 
hand, in Europe, every revolution usually 
resulted sooner or later in greater freedom 
even where the revolution was suppressed. My 
experience with Negro uprisings has been pre- 
cisely the reverse. Such progress as the Negro 
has made has been by education and the awak- 
ening of the conscience of the white man. 

6 1 To put the matter in a few words, the prob- 
lem that I would like immensely to emphasize 
to you, is the wholly abnormal position of the 
minority seeking its rights. We are apt to 
think that the Negro can achieve these rights in 
the way that our ancestors achieved theirs 
against the aristocracy, but unless I am utterly 
wrong, that view is doomed to failure and if 
followed will result in embittering the relations 



290 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



between the races so that segregation or 
deportation or extermination must result. Per- 
sonally I do not believe that we will fail, but if 
we succeed it will be in spite of Du Bois and of 
the attitude of armed resistance. Never was a 
better illustration of the wisdom under certain 
conditions of the Tolstoi attitude of non-resist- 
ance." 

That of course is nicely deduced, but events 
are not ruled by wisdom and logic. It might 
very well have been said to the Israelites dur- 
ing the long period of the Plagues. It is such 
a period in the history of the Negroes, 



XIV 



THE WOBLD ASPECT 

The American Negroes are the aristocrats of 
the Negro world. It may be a paradox to 
assume that a proletariat can become an aristoc- 
racy, but an aristocracy is the best a race can 
produce in culture and manners. No doubt Afri- 
can Negrodom is made up of a great number 
of races, but all seem to have one common inter- 
est and to yield more homage to the name of 
Africa itself than to any constituent part, king- 
dom, or state or pasture. The American Negro 
is beginning to lead Africa as he is leading the 
Indies. The reason is that the children of the 
American slaves have made the greatest cul- 
tural progress of all Negroes. Though perse- 
cution has been less in some parts of Africa 
and on the "West Indian islands, opportunity 
has also been less. In 1863 America committed 
herself to the task of raising her millions of 
black slaves to the cultural level of white citi- 
zenship. But no one has ever essayed to raise 
the savage masses of Africa much higher than 
the baptismal font. It is always pointed out to 
the American Negro that his good fortune is 
prodigious. The Negro retorts that if he has 



291 



292 THE SOUL OF JOHX BBOWN 



good fortune his fathers paid for it in the suf- 
ferings of slavery, and he still pays in the price 
of lynching. Yet, of course, the Negroes in 
Africa have suffered greatly, and their fathers 
suffered greatly. Xo Negro can deny that he 
owes America much. And Africa owes, or will 
ewe, more still. 

In America the door at least stands open for 
Negro progress. In Africa, and especially in 
South Africa, it is not quite certain that the 
door is not closed. If the door remains ajar it 
is not because the white man wills it, but 
because the American Negro has got his foot in. 
A low Commercial-Imperial idea reigns. The 
native is, "the labor on the spot." An unfail- 
ing supply of cheap native labor is considered 
the great desideratum. Attempts on the Negro's 
part to raise himself by education or by 
technical skill are looked upon with suspicion, 
and one must remember that as far as the Brit- 
ish Empire or French or Belgian mandatorial 
regions are concerned there are no institutions 
in Africa comparable to Tuskegee and Hamp- 
ton. If the labor unions in the United States 
are foolishly antagonistic to the progress of 
Negro skilled labor, they are twice more so in 
South Africa. If there is peonage in America 
there is an abundance of pseudo slavery in 
Africa, and while the American trolley car has 
its Jim Crow section the South African one 
often has not even that, and the Negro must 



THE WOKLD ASPECT 293 



walk unless accompanied by white employer. An 
open hostility has arisen between Black and 
"White which much resembles that of the South- 
ern States of America. If it were not for the 
leadership of the American Negroes it would 
not be promising for Negrodom as a whole. 

Of course there is a vital difference between 
the British Empire and the United States; the 
people of the empire are subjects, and of the 
republic they are citizens. While Britain 
technically rules her four hundred million col- 
ored subjects from above downward America 
theoretically holds that all her people are free 
and equal. The American ideal is higher, the 
British more practical. 

There is another difference, and it is that our 
Blacks, except in the Indies, are mostly indige- 
nous, and have not been transplanted from their 
native wilds. They have not been slaves and 
have not the slave psychology. In Africa the 
white man is in contact with masses of natives 
in a primitive condition; in the United States 
the Negro has been definitely cut off from his 
kith and kin. The American Negro was set 
free in a land rampant with democratic ideals 
and possessed of a sublime belief in human 
progress. But Africa has been and is increas- 
ingly a commercial domain whose only function 
from the modern white man's point of view is 
the making of material fortune. The white man 
in Africa is much more exclusively a dollar 



294 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



hunter than the American. And though Britain 

has been much praised for letting South Africa 
govern herself it does not seem as if the Union 
was making much progress in ideals and cul- 
ture. The King of England was a better friend 
to the native than the local government is prov- 
ing itself to be. 

A blatant anti-nigger tendency is growing 
throughout the British Empire, and it is very 
vulgar, very undignified, and at the same time 
disgraceful. It applies to India and Egypt as 
much as to Africa. It is due perhaps to a gen- 
eral deterioration in education and training. 
One may remark that those who complain of the 
ways of their servants are generally unfitted to 
have servants, and it is characteristic of par- 
venus to ill treat those beneath them, and I 
would say if a white man cannot get on well 
with a Negro it is a sign that he is not a gentle- 
man. But the genuine type of English gentle- 
man is passing. To think that the race of Liv- 
ingstone and Stanley and Harry Johnston 
should be pitifully complaining about the 
Negroes, as if God had not made them aright! 

The British people used to be able to manage 
native races well — in the age of the Victorian, 
when the Englishman could treat his native 
servant as if he were a gentleman also, never 
doubting that in God's sight an equal dignity 
invested both master and man. Bead the 
memoirs a»d letters of colonial people of time 



THE WORLD ASPECT 295 



past, and then compare with the current noisy 
prejudice in India and Africa. The falling 
away is appalling. And the " natives' 1 know 
the change which has been coming about — the 
new type of officer and employer, the man with 
the whisky brain, the mind stocked with music- 
hall funniosity and pseudo cynicism, the grum- 
bler, the man who expects everything to have 
been arranged for his comfort and success be- 
forehand. Astonishing to hear young officers 
calling even Hindoos and Syrians and Arabs 
niggers! The native instinctively knows the 
man of restraint and good manners and human 
dignity and properly trained unselfishness. 
The lowest coolie can tell the difference between 
a gentleman and a cad; and the educated col- 
ored man, while he respects in the deepest way 
the nation of Shakespeare and Burke and Wel- 
lington and Gordon, is puzzled to find a com- 
mon spirit in the English-speaking people of 
to-day. 

"I was reared in an atmosphere of admira- 
tion — almost of veneration— for England,' ' 
says Dr. Du Bois. "I had always looked on 
England as the best administrator of colored 
peoples, and laid her success to her system of 
justice," but he wavers in that faith now, hav- 
ing heard the new story of Hindoos and Arabs 
and the Negroes of South Africa and Negroes 
of West Africa. 

In converse with Professor Hoffmann in New 



296 THE SOUL OF JOHN BEOWN 



Orleans, a British subject formerly in the serv- 
ice of the British Government in Northern 
Nigeria, an extremely capable and enlightened 
Negro, now head master of a colored school, I 
found confirmation of this. His impression of 
the change of spirit in the empire was similar 
to that expressed by Du Bois, and I found ad- 
miration of British rule giving way to doubt in 
many Negro minds. Indeed it has been pos- 
sible for American Anglophobes to do a good 
deal of propaganda among the Negroes by rep- 
resenting how badly the natives now fare under 
British rule. There is some exaggeration in 
this respect, but it makes an important impres- 
sion on the mind of the American Negro. He 
has begun to feel a care and an anxiety for the 
condition of his brethren overseas. The edu- 
cated Negro of the United States now feels a 
responsibility toward the African Negro, and 
also toward all dark-skinned people whatso- 
ever. 

The assumption by the Negro of a common 
ground with the natives of India is somewhat 
surprising and amusing. There is no ethnolog- 
ical common ground. But the color bar of the 
British Empire applies almost as stringently 
to the Indians as to the Negroes. "We'll smash 
them all to hell," says a bellicose Negro 
stranger to a young Hindoo student at Wash- 
ington, much to the astonishment of the latter. 



THE WORLD ASPECT 297 



The advanced Negroes of America place the 
liberation of the peoples of India and Egypt in 
the very foreground of their world policy. They 
say also that the natives of South Africa mnst 
be delivered from the Union of South Africa. 

One thing is certain, and that is that the Brit- 
ish Empire will not hold together for long un- 
less the Whites can manage the Blacks, and up- 
hold the standard of justice which was for- 
merly lived by. Votes are not necessary, but 
ordinary human rights of free existence and op- 
portunity are necessary. The empire is at the 
crossroads. It is a question whether it can be 
held together by good will, or whether Britain 
will be forced to inaugurate a rule of force and 
obedience. The old conception of good will is 
being tested in South Africa and Egypt and 
India as it is in Ireland. Possibly as a result of 
the war, political circumstances may force it 
back to the ideal of force and a paramount cen- 
tral authority. The belief of native races in 
the King, and their hatred of the King's inter- 
mediaries, is characteristic of the time. The 
American Negro is keeping a sharp lookout on 
the lot of colored people within the British Em- 
pire. As he leads in intelligence, in ideals, and 
in material wealth, he intends to missionarize 
the native world in the name of civilization. The 
missionaries are called agitators; their press 
seditious ; their ideals dangerous ; but words do 



298 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



not alter the fact that the flag of Pan-African 
unity has been raised, and the common needs of 
all dark-skinned races have been mooted. 

The Republic of Liberia has often been dis- 
missed as a failure, by the white man. But it is 
destined to be America's advanced post in 
Africa for Black civilizing Black. I was fortu- 
nate in meeting in America Bishop Lloyd, just 
returned from Liberia, and he gave a very inter- 
esting account of the positive side of develop- 
ment there. First of all the American Negro is 
the elite, the aristocracy of Liberia. He is tak- 
ing upon himself the immense task of educa- 
ting the Negro masses of the interior. In this 
and in commerce and in the establishment of 
law and order, Liberia is very successful. 
America and American ideals are a gospel to 
the Liberian Negroes. Never a word is said of 
the injustices and sufferings which attend 
Negro life in the States, but on the contrary 
America is regarded as a Negro Paradise. When 
America declared war on Germany it was the 
joy of Liberia to declare war also, and her war 
effort was remarkable. 

It is somewhat curious that while British 
difficulties with native races obtain large adver* 
tisement in the United States and elsewhere, 
the lynchings and burnings and rac* riots of 
America are in general successfully hushed up 
within the States where they occur. But of 
course the American Negro is very proud of the 



THE WOKLD ASPECT 299 



America which he feels he helped in no small 
way to make. America has given the Negro an 
ideal, and she is to him religion. All that is 
new in the Negro movement, moreover, takes 
its rise from America. 

We have seen inaugurated in New York re- 
cently the so-called 14 Black Star Line," a line 
of steamships owned by Negroes, and manned 
by Negroes. Its object is to trade with Negro 
communities, and advance the common inter- 
ests of the dark-skinned people throughout the 
world. Whether it is destined to succeed de- 
pends on the soundness of its financial backing. 
But it is an interesting adventure. Its first 
ship out of New York carried out the last cargo 
of whisky before "Prohibition' ' set in. A 
storm forced the vessel back to port after the 
port had become legally "dry," and some 
thought the cargo would be seized. It was said 
there were many leaks to the ship, but after 
many parleys and reconnaissances with white 
officials the Yarmouth, afterwards named 
Frederick Douglass, got away. 

It is generally advertised under the caption 
"OVER THE TOP— FOE WHAT!" and 
was started by a Negro orator called the Hon. 
Marcus Garvey. He founded a society known 
as The Universal Negro Improvement Associa- 
tion which boasts now a membership of over 
two millions in America, Africa, and the Indies. 
This is a militant organization, But its mem- 



300 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



berslrip is evidently useful as a ready-to-hand 
investing public who can be persuaded to put 
its money into a whole series of Negro business 
enterprises, such as "The Negro Factories 
Corporation," "West Indies Trading Associa- 
tion of Canada," and, of course, the Black Star 
Line. The association has its organ, "The 
Negro "World," and it meets, as far as New 
York is concerned, at a place called popularly 
"The Subway Church," between Seventh and 
Lenox Avenues. Whites are not wanted, and 
indeed not admitted, but the crowds are so huge 
it is possible to slip in. Musical features alter- 
nate with impassioned oratory. Whether, like 
a bubble blown from the soap of commerce and 
the water and air of humanitarianism, this will 
burst and let the members down, or whether it 
is sound and genuine, it is at least instructive 
and interesting in its developments. The lec- 
turers and speakers choose the largest terms of 
thought, and visualize always some four hun- 
dred millions of colored brethren throughout 
the world. A universal convention is even to 
be called. 

How the Yarmouth fared with the rest of 
her "wet cargo" during its six months' trip 
has not been made public, but the Negroes 
hailed the progress of the vessel as a "diplo- 
matic triumph," and when it returned to New 
York an accession of 25,000 new members was 
announced, Five thousand in Cuba, two thou- 



THE WORLD ASPECT 301 



sand five hundred in Jamaica, eight thousand in 
Panama, seven thousand in Bocas del Toro and 
Port Limon; the staff of the ship and its "am- 
bassadors" were feted on their return. All made 
speeches, and all were greeted with the greatest 
enthusiasm. Thus, at the "Star Casino' 9 one 
of the ambassadors described the arrival at 
Jamaica : 

" At last we came in sight of the emerald isle 
of the Caribbean Sea — that beautiful island 
that is ever green — that wonderful island 
Jamaica; and dear indeed is the island of 
J amaica to me. With pleasure I saw the people 
as they crowded along the docks to catch the 
first view of our steamer, the first ship of 
the Black Star Line. I could hear the hurrahs 
and the huzzahs as she majestically wended her 
way up to Port Eoyal. We had taken on board 
our Negro pilot, who piloted us into the harbor 
of Kingston, one of the finest harbors of the 
world. As she sped along, the people of Kings- 
ton were running down the streets in order that 
they might catch a sight of the Yarmouth. We 
steamed to the dock and they came on board. 
They did not wait for invitation to the cap- 
tain's cabin, but came up to the wheelhouse, 
they came into the chart room, they invaded 
every portion of the ship. ... On the second 
night after our arrival a grand reception was 
arranged.' 9 

The ship made a triumphal entry wherever 



302 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



she arrived. At one port where the ropes were 
thrown out from 4he ship, the Negroes seized 
them, pulled her alongside the dock of a fruit 
company, and then with their hands pulled the 
vessel itself the entire length of the quay. No 
one had ever seen the like, but the Blacks 
-wanted to feel it with their hands — their own 
ship. 

This was strictly a new-world voyage, and a 
comparatively easy one, with plenty of passen- 
gers and of freight. The cry is for more ships 
and bigger enterprise, and if the company makes 
good Africa will no doubt see Africa come rid- 
ing toward itself on the waves. It is possible, 
however, that the Whites of Africa may prove 
more hostile than those of the easy-going States 
of South America and the Indies. The news of 
the Negro line is no doubt very rousing for all 
intelligent colored people. 

What in reality is Black Internationalism is 
hardly realized as yet, especially by Great Brit- 
ain. Anything said against the Negroes is 
heard by a vast number of educated and intelli- 
gent colored people. Thus you find the words of 
the Germanophile E. D. Morel used to stir the 
masses against Britain. Says Morel, according 
to the Negroes : 4 4 The results of installing black 
barbarians among European communities are 
inevitable. . . . The African is the most de- 
veloped sexually of any. . . . Sexually, they are 
unrestrained and unrestrainable. That is per- 



THE WORLD ASPECT 303 



fectly well known. . . . For the working classes 
the importation of Negro mercenaries by the 
hundred thousand from the heart of Africa to 
fight the battles and execute the lusts of capital- 
ist governments in the heart of Europe is a 
terrific portent. The workers alike of Britain, 
France, and Italy will be ill advised if they 
allow it to pass in silence. " And when the Daily 
Herald says that "Wherever there are black 
troops who have been long distant from their 
own womenfolk there follows a ghastly out- 
break of prostitution, rape, and syphilis' 9 it is 
necessarily treated as a slur by Negroes. A 
Negro writer who protested in a well-written 
and cogent letter to that newspaper fails to get 
his letter printed, but he prints it all right in 
the Negro press of America, and asks, "Why 
this obscene maniacal outburst about the sex- 
vitality of black men in a proletarian paper?" 

If there is a race riot as at Cardiff or Liver- 
pool, or if a scheme is mooted to dispossess the 
squatters of Ehodesia of more of their land, or 
a General Dyer machine-guns a crowd of civil- 
ians in the name of keeping order in India — it 
is absurd to think of the matter locally and 
provincially. It is discussed throughout the 
world. It is impossible to act now as if the sub- 
ject races had no collective consciousness. 

So much for the point of view of the world 
outside America. There is another point of 



304 THE SOUL OF JOHN BBOWN 



view which is perhaps closer to those subjects 
specially treated in this volume. What the 
world does to the native and says of him are 
known in America. America has power to help 
the native races of dark color throughout the 
world, and many Americans, white as well as 
dark, are willing to do so. But there is one very 
serious difficulty, and that is the moral sanc- 
tion. 

While those things occur; such as burning 
Negroes at the stake and denying them the 
equable justice of a true Court of Law, Amer- 
ica has no right to speak; her truly grand ideal- 
ism is rendered almost wholly impotent. It was 
the same in the promulgation of the League of 
Nations and the idea of helping small nations ; 
it is the same with regard to American inter- 
ference, in the name of human rights and 
ideals, in the Irish question. It can always be 
objected: Why do you not look after your own 
subjects first, and save your Negroes? An 
American said to me in Philadelphia: "I am 
not overfond of the Bolsheviks, but of one thing 
I am glad — The red hand of the Tsar will never 
rule again." 

No? 

And another said: " Thank God the pogroms 
are over." 
Are they? 

And a third said: n I am sorry America re- 
fused to take a mandate for Armenia." 



THE WOELD ASPECT 305 



But why not take a mandate for Georgia and 
Mississippi? 

In 1919, when the question of American dele- 
gations to Ireland was being discussed, a mem- 
ber in the British House of Commons asked if 
a British delegation could not be sent to Amer- 
ica to investigate conditions among the 
Negroes. 

Mr. Bonar Law thought that a very humorous 
suggestion. The very humor of it was sufficient 
answer to America. No need for Britain to 
send investigators. 

As long as America with her ideals was 
enough unto herself the Negro question was 
strictly her affair. But when she takes the 
moral leadership of the civilized world it be- 
comes to a certain extent every one's affair. 

The point is that America as a whole cannot 
afford to tolerate what is done locally in par- 
ticular States. It is not a matter of non-inter- 
ference from Washington in the local affairs of 
Georgia and Mississippi and the rest. The bale- 
ful happenings in these States rob Americans 
in other States of their good name, and spoil 
America's reputation in the world. The fact 
that the terms of the Constitution are not car- 
ried out, decreases throughout the value of the 
American citizenship. And the growing scan- 
dal causes America's opinions on world politics 
to be seriously discounted. 



306 THE SOUL OF JOHN BBOWN 



Thus though America was antipathetic to the 
old Tsarist regime, and still talks of the 
"bloody Tsar," it is a fact growing daily more 
obvious that compared with the present regime 
of the great republic the rule of the Tsar over 
his subject races was in some ways better. On 
the other hand, the American press has lately 
been flooded with the atrocities of the Bolshe- 
viks. The fact is, we, all of us, believe evil read- 
ily of a country which is far away, but are not 
ready to face evils near at home when they 
affect ourselves. 

Thus the matter affects the world and Amer- 
ica. There is a third interest, and that is ex- 
clusively of the Negro himself. He needs a 
guaranteed charter, an authenticated minimum. 
If the vote cannot be given him, at least let him 
have justice ; if he cannot be admitted to labor 
unions let his labor be adequately protected; 
if an offense against a white woman is re- 
garded as specially heinous and dangerous let 
the legal punishment be increased; afford his 
women protection also. If the Whites have 
changed their minds about slavery let them 
state how much they sanction — what are its 
limits. Let the American Eepublic and the 
British Empire state their policy with regard 
to their colored population. Make it clear and 
manifest. 

The Negro's chief danger lies in a consen- 



THE WORLD ASPECT 307 



sns of evil opinion concerning him. The South 

rejoices when a race riot disgraces some North- 
ern city and says: "They're beginning to find 
out the Negro isn't an angel up there." When 
a General Dyer uses the machine-gun argu- 
ment, or a mob of dockers fall foul of Negro 
immigrants at Cardiff or Liverpool, America 
smiles and says, "You also?" When there are 
reports of constant trouble in South Africa 
someone else says, "So you cannot get on with 
them either?" and when one is burned to death 
in Georgia, South Africa says, "So you burn 
them to death, eh?" 

Out of a cycle of happenings is derived the 
thought: No one can a ford to feel virtuous 
about the Negro. 

That fact no doubt helps the Negro press in 
the chanting of its sorrows, but it does not help 
the Negro himself. In fact, it shuts out a good 
deal of hope which might have been derived 
from white sympathy, and it threatens the col- 
ored peoples as a whole with worse things to 
be. These are the days of democracies and 
white proletariats, and both show themselves 
less friendly toward Negroes and "natives" 
than the old monarchies. Their hostility is 
based on an old fashioned ignorant contempt; 
competition in the labor market, and a sort of 
fear. Probably it can be overcome in time, but 
if so it will not be through white enlightenment, 
but through a world organization and under- 



308 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 

standing on the part of the colored races. For 

while throughout the world the "Whites degener- 
ate somewhat, these others rise. The gulf be- 
tween the two is being diminished, and there 
may come a time not very far away when the 
white hegemony will be lost. 



XV 



UP THE MISSISSIPPI 

Fbom New Orleans I traveled up the Missis- 
sippi; calling at such characteristic points a3 
Reserve, Vicksburg, Greenville, Mound Bayou, 
Memphis, accomplishing the journey partly by 
rail and partly by boat. Eeserve is a vast sugar 
plantation owned by five brothers. It is only 
thirty miles from the great city and the TThites 
are mostly Creoles. The Mother of Rivers, clad 
in brown silk, flows toward the green humps of 
hundreds of levees and embankments. The 
shores are low and level, and there grows 
almost to the water edge a vast, close, ten-feet- 
high jungle of sugar cane. You walk along the 
top of the levee till you see a lane running 
across the plantation like a trench dug through 
it. In the lane itself there is no view except the 
erect, green wall of canes on either hand and 
the blue sky above. Beneath your feet are cart 
ruts and withered stalks of sugar gone purple 
at the joints and straw-colored in the flanks. 
Take a stalk and break it across, and it breaks 
in shreds like a bamboo, revealing the inner 
fatness of sweet pith which you can suck if you 
will, for it is sugar. It has a dilute sweetness 



309 



310 THE SOUL OF JOHN BEOWN 



which rapidly cloys an unaccustomed palate, 
though the people of the countryside suck it 
continuously, and many consider the natural 
sugar the source of all health. The taste is re- 
produced very well in the pralines on which 
New Orleans prides itself. 

A long and novel sort of lane this through 
the sugar! A Negro worker coming along the 
road sees a white man, but does not want to meet 
him, and he takes three steps into the dark- 
green depths, clawing his way inside as through 
many barely shut doors, and he is lost. You 
would seek him in vain if he wished to hide. 

The lane debouches into a sun-bathed, half- 
cleared area which is covered with stricken 
canes looking like warriors tumbled in death 
after a great battle; for it is winter and the 
time of the taking of the harvest. Negro gangs 
with rough bills like meat choppers are slicing 
the side leaves from the cane and then cutting, 
slicing and cutting, all over the plantation, with 
joyous noise, and there are great numbers of 
dark girls in straw hats working methodically 
and rhythmically from the shoulder and the 
bosom, striking, clipping, felling, as it were 
automatically, unwaveringly. They break in 
and cut in, strewing ever more extensively the 
carpet of canes in their rear, but the wall they 
attack is ten times as dense as the thickest field 
of corn and twice as high. The master or over- 
seer, on horseback, stands about and calls 



UP THE MISSISSIPPI 311 



sharply to the workers in French patois. He 
may be white Creole, but is often as dark as 
his gang. Where sugar is not rising, beyond 
the plantations if you walk as far, Nature seems 
sunk in swamp and swarming with snakes. The 
low jungle over the Mississippi marshes has 
many alligators and a multitude of other 
reptiles. 

In a clearing of the sugar harvest it is pos- 
sible to sit on a hummock of grass and see some- 
thing of a plantation as a whole. It is a cloud- 
less day with the faintest haze over the blue- 
ness of the sky. The sun heat is tempered by a 
delightful air which keeps on moving all the 
time like an invisible river of health and vigor. 
There is a whispering in the myriads of the 
canes, and you hear the slashing and the clump- 
ing of the cutting which is going on all the while. 
On one hand are the rudimentary huts of the 
Negroes, like dressing rooms, on the other the 
lofty refinery of white-painted corrugated 
iron, with many chimneys and cranes. The re- 
finery, using electric power taken from the 
river, works off all the local cane and also im- 
ports large quantities of raw sugar brought 
from Cuba. Pile driving is going on in the Mis- 
sissippi, and there will soon be a landing stage 
to which the Cuban steamers themselves can 
approach. The Louisiana cane is red and the 
Cuban is yellow-green, and the latter is much 
the sweeter. On the plantation, where a fair 



312 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



stretch of ground has been cleared, the motor 
plough is at work with huge spiked wheels, turn- 
ing the black soil over the sugar seed for next 
year. The cane has an eye at each joint, the 
eye is the seed, and from it sprouts next year's 
plant, growing at right angles to the old cane 
in the earth. "In February,'' says the young 
Creole ploughman, "the young plants have to 
be dug up and replanted. Work goes on stead- 
ily all the year round. 9 9 

I resumed my way up the Mississippi on an 
old, broken-down steamer with a remarkably 
high, wooden, dripping, splashing paddle wheel- 
To go by boat used to be a favorite way of trav- 
eling, but the new railways on each side of the 
great river have killed the water traffic by tak- 
ing away all large freight. It does not seem a 
profitable enterprise to ply the Mississippi for 
passengers alone. There are therefore only a 
few river steamers left, and these have to call 
at all the tiniest and obscurest waterside places 
and lumber camps, and can seldom make more 
than forty or fifty miles a day. Few people will 
travel a week or ten days or a fortnight or any- 
thing you like to Memphis when a locomotive 
will do it in twenty-four hours. The passengers 
therefore sit in stuffy trains listening to the 
vers libre of the man who offers in a low voice : 
chewing gum, cigarettes, iced coco-cola; and the 
country whirls past them unprofitably. The cot- 
ton bales which used to go down stream in thou- 



UP THE MISSISSIPPI 313 



sands upon river steamers are now closely 
packed in railway trucks ; and the molasses goes 
no longer in barrels, but in huge, iron cisterns 
on wheels. There is therefore little traffic on the 
mighty river — she is happier and freer, more as 
she was of yore, with few steamers, few barges, 
few rafts — instead, only an occasional rowing 
boat and a ferry. The water is brown and vast 
and placid, and runs in many courses beyond 
wooded islands, beyond vast, swampy forks and 
tongues of the mainland. It is a sort of cafe- 
au-lait color, and the shadows mantle softly 
upon it deliciously. Willows grow in the water 
on its shores and islands, and in shadow or sun- 
light the water laps gently the many tree trunks 
or lies still under the green shade of the 
branches. It is a great, intricate, unexplored 
labyrinth of waters, and now you see it un- 
adorned and lovely, with no advertisements on 
its banks and no shoddy reminder of our civi- 
lization on any hand — the Mississippi as she was 
when we first saw her. I traveled on a boat 
called Senator Cor dill and we made barely 
thirty miles a day, so many were the stopping 
places, so many the accidents. It cost a little 
over a dollar a day, including board, and was 
the nearest approach to a gift. The ship had a 
motley gang of colored laborers fetching freight 
on their backs in intermittent procession, beat- 
ing out dust from the long, wooden gangway 
up which they tramped with their burdens. The 



314 THE SOUL OF JOHN BEOWN 

wooden paddle wheel, which was ten feet high, 
had got into disrepair, and at a riverside town 
where we stopped some colored carpenters were 
at work fitting new wooden parts into her while 
close-cropped Negroes with coal-dusted skulls 
shoveled coal aboard from a lighter. We had 
three wooden decks rolling with small freight 
for tiny places in Louisiana, Mississippi State, 
and Arkansas. In the cabins were huge family- 
bedsteads, and no locks on the doors. When the 
wheel was repaired and the time came for de- 
parture the Negro crew deserted en masse, and 
the captain, with the unlighted cigar which he 
had rolled and bitten in his capacious mouth all 
day, stood on the bank and accosted all and 
sundry, begging them to come aboard and work 
on the ship. Meanwhile in a quayside hut Negro 
girls were "shimmying" as they brought in 
food for their colored boys, and our erstwhile 
crew was heard singing and shouting. Only next 
morning did we get enough hands, and at the 
misty dawn, when the river was so still that it 
looked like an unbroken sheet of ice, we raised 
anchor and plunged outward again. In the main 
current whole trees were seen to be floating, 
and our wheel might easily strike one of them 
and get broken again. We sat down to break- 
fast, the eight passengers: one was a judge, 
another a district attorney, a third was an agent 
for timber, and the rest were women. The china 
at table was of different shapes and sizes, and 



UP THE MISSISSIPPI 315 



there were only three teaspoons — so the rest of 
the passengers were served with tablespoons 
for their coffee. 

Judge T insisted on having a teaspoon 

from the colored girl who waited on us, but was 
obliged to content himself with the tablespoon 
laid. 

"Teaspoons is sca'ce," said she. 

We stop at various "landing places/ ' points 
and creeks and bends, the boat generally com- 
ing close to shore. A long plank is thrown out, 
and then commences the cakewalk of the Negro 
"rousters" carrying out all manner of goods — 
in one place it is materials for the building of a 
church — and bringing back cotton bales or 
whatever else may be waiting for us. It is a 
sight at which one could gaze spellbound for 
hours; for the Negroes keep in step and seem 
listening to an inaudible music. They lurch 
with their shoulders, kick out with their flexible 
knees, and whether taking long strides or mark- 
ing time they keep in unison with the whole, 
their heads bent, their eyes half closed and 
bleared with some inner preoccupation. They 
are in all manner of ragged garments : one has 
a lilac-covered hat, another an old dressing 
gown, others are in sloppy blue overalls, some 
wear shabby Cuban hats, and they go screech- 
ing and singing and dodging knocks on the head, 
but always keeping step with the dance. The 
captain, with yesterday's unlit cigar stuck in 



316 THE SOUL' OF JOHN BROWN 



the side of his month, gives directions abont 
each bit of freight, nsing wonderful expressions 
of abuse and otherwise "encouraging" the 
"niggers." Looking at the " roust ers" you can 
easily understand that dancing of a certain kind 
is innate with the Negro and springs from 
him. He has an inborn sense of the beating of 
time which we call rhythm. It is so exaggerated 
that it tilts out ridiculously with his stomach 
and controls inanely his bobbing head and nose 
and dropping eyes. He looks a savage, but he 
is spellbound. He is completely illiterate and 
largely unintelligent, but he has solved the 
problem of carrying huge cotton bales to the 
ship, providing a rhythmical physical stream 
for them to flow upon. It is not half the effort 
that it would be to white people without rhythm. 

One of the reasons why the Negroes box so 
well is because they do it in the same rhythmi- 
cal way they shift these cotton bales. 

Presently they commence to sing while they 
haul up the anchor, and a rowing boat passing 
ns with Negro oarsmen is also choric with 
bright, hard, rhythmic music. These people 
understand music and time in their bodies, not 
in their minds. Their blood and their nerves 
have consciousness of tempo. 

The many stops in Mississippi State afford 
opportunities of going ashore, picking up wild 
pecan nuts, talking to Negroes at their cabin 
doors, One never sees a white man, This along 



UP THE MISSISSIPPI 317 



the Mississippi is the real black belt. According 
to the census, the Negro is in a clear majority. 
This causes the Whites to be always apprehen- 
sive. The idea prevails that the Black can only 
be kept in his place by terror. As regards this 
point of view, the Whites prize above every- 
thing solidarity of opinion. They hold that 
they cannot afford to discuss the matter, and 
they will tolerate no cleavage. In politics all 
are of course Democrats, and if the American 
Democratic party is on the whole much less 
liable to " splits' ' than the Eepublican party, it 
is largely due to the discipline of the black belt. 

"They outnumber us ten to one," says the 
agent for timber, exaggerating characteristi- 
cally. "It's come to such a point hereabout that 
they're pulling the white women out of their 
houses. It's done every day." 

I could not believe that. 

"But if a Black attacks a white woman here- 
abouts he is certain to be lynched, and knows 
it," said I. 

"Yes, it's the only way." 

"But there is not a lynching every day?" 

"No." 

I I So there are not really so many attacks on 
the women." 

But the day-moth of his thought refused to 
be caught in a logical net. 

"Did you ever see a man tarred and feath- 
ered?" I asked of the district attorney. 



318 THE SOUL OF JOHN BEOWN 



"No, but I've seen one lynched, and helped 
to lynch him," said he. 

"But lynching isn't very good for legal busi- 
ness, " 1 hazarded. 

He at once felt ruffled. 

"It doesn't make any difference to the 
Negro,' 9 said he. "He hasn't got a soul. They 
don't go to heaven or hell." 

"How do you make that out?" 

"They're just animals," said he. "They 
were never in the Garden of Eden, for Adam 
and Eve were white. Consequently, as they had 
no part in original sin, they have no share in 
our salvation either. Christ did not come to 
save those who never fell from grace." 

"I never heard that before," said I, and was 
so greatly amused I could not help showing it. 

The attorney sought me out afterwards with 
Biblical proof. The sons of Cain, it appears, 
took themselves wives from the daughters of 
men ; these other men were not descended from 
Adam and were probably Negroes — the attor- 
ney was perfectly serious. The judge, however, 
to whom we referred the matter, was of a cyn- 
ical turn of mind, and chuckled heartily. "I am 
a subscriber to foreign missions," said he. "If 
they have not Adam for their father, why do 
we send missionaries to Africa?" 

One of the chief places which I wished to visit 
was the Negro city of Mound Bayou, in tho 
Mississippi Delta, In the blackest part of the 



UP THE MISSISSIPPI 319 



State of Mississippi this is a city which is en- 
tirely Negro, possesses a Negro mayor, Negro 
policemen, and indeed is entirely without ac- 
commodation for white men. I stayed there a 
night in a Negro hotel where the old wall paper 
was in hundreds of peeling strips hanging on 
the walls, and everything in the bedroom was 
broken. It is a musical sort of city, all a-jangle 
with the banjo and the brassy clamor of the 
gramophone. Places of amusement are many 
— the Lyceum, the Casino, the Bon-Ton cafe 
(with jazzy music), the Luck Coles restaurant, 
etc. ; one sees many advertisements of minstrel 
shows. But it is a working city, and at present, 
with the high cotton prices, it is tasting real 
prosperity. It is situated in the rich land of 
the Delta, very malarial and snake-haunted, and 
therefore not very suitable for white men, but 
the district produces the highest quality of cot- 
ton in the United States. It is in a way a one- 
man city, and owes most to Charles Banks, who 
is one of those agreeable and talented African 
giants, who, like Dr. Moton and others, seem 
to have an unexpected capacity for greatness. 
His energy and calm foresight and his money 
guarantee the gins and the cottonseed-oil fac- 
tory and the Negro bank and probably the local 
newspaper and one or other of the churches. 

In Mound Bayou is no segregation and no 
racial trouble, and the Negroes show how hap- 
pily they can live when unmolested. It is a type 



320 THE SOUL OF JOHN BKOWN 



of settlement well worth encouraging. The chief 
interest of the city just now is the building of a 
"consolidated school." All the small schools 
are to be pulled down, and the money has been 
subscribed for the building of a handsome new 
school on modern lines. It will be put up facing 
the Carnegie Library Building. I was sorry to 
see the latter devoid of books, and used as a 
Sunday school, but the building was given be- 
fore the city was ready for the responsible 
work of organizing and controlling a public 
library. I talked in the infants' school to a 
strange array of children with heads like mar- 
bles, and found a common chord in interest and 
love for animals. "We imitated together all the 
animals we knew, and agreed that no one who 
did not love animals ever came to anything in 
this world. But if they loved their animals, 
they must love teacher too. I talked in the 
beautiful Wesleyan church on the difference be- 
tween E pluribus unum and E pluribus duo, 
but that was to grown-ups — and they were so 
dull, compared with the children. The point 
was, however, that though the United States 
might fail to obtain unity of race, her peoples, 
white and black and yellow, Teutonic and Slav 
and the rest, could still be one in ideal. 

"We are trying here to understand the beauty 
of being black, " said one of the audience edi- 
fyingly. "Solomon's bride herself was black," 
said he. 



UP THE MISSISSIPPI 321 



Mound Bayou is the pride of Mississippi, as 
far as the black part of it is concerned. The 
crowds that appear when a train comes in re- 
mind one of similar pictures in Africa. America 
seems to have disappeared and Africa to have 
been substituted. An entirely black South, or 
even one State entirely black, is, however, un- 
thinkable. The white man has shed too much 
blood for his ideals there. He can never easily 
abandon any part of it. He must rise to the 
standard of his sacrifices. To my eyes, Mound 
Bayou was a little pathetic — like the sort of 
small establishment of a woman who has 
been separated from a rich husband through 
estrangement or desertion. It is not quite in 
the nature of things, and is more like a courage- 
ous protest than the beginning of something 
new. It stands, however, as a symbol of incom- 
patibility of temperament. 

There are many who say that when left to 
himself the Negro slips back from civilization 
into a primitive state of laziness or savagery, 
and they instance life in Haiti and the supposed 
failure of Liberia. It is said that he does not 
keep up the white man's standard, he is not so 
strenuous, he is not a good organizer, nor de- 
pendable. That is not entirely true, but there 
is some truth in it. Mound Bayou is situated 
in a highly malarial region, unfitted for white 
habitation, but being surrounded with the best 
cotton-growing land in America it ought to be 



322 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



exceedingly prosperous. The best that can be 
said is that the local planters are in a better 
plight than their neighbors who are inter- 
mingled with Whites. Complete financial fail- 
ure has threatened the little city in the past, 
and if it were not for the founder, Mr. Mont- 
gomery, and its financier, Mr. Banks, most of 
the proprietorship must have passed over into 
white hands. To all appearances, the Negro 
needs decent white co-operation in business, 
and mixed commercial relationships are better 
than segregated ones. The difficulty is to find 
conscientious business Whites who realize that 
the prosperity of the Negro is worth while. The 
fixed idea of the white business man is to fool 
the Negro and exploit him to the last penny. 

Mound Bayou has its own Negro cotton buy- 
ers, who give a fair price for the cotton. But 
it is with the greatest difficulty that a Negro 
planter can obtain from a white buyer the true 
market price, and it is rare that a landlord who 
receives cotton bales as rent will take into con- 
sideration the enhanced price of cotton, even 
though the enhancement is supposed to be pri- 
marily due to the smallness of the harvest. 
Where the white man is in control it is true the 
Negro produces more because he has to in order 
to live, but he is nevertheless the victim of a 
systematized swindling, and he knows it. It is 
causing a growing discontent among the black 
peasantry, and I was continually told about it. 



UP THE MISSISSIPPI 323 



One of the worst riots of 1919 took place on 
the other side of the river — in the State of 
Arkansas, at Elaine. It is also in this so-called 
Delta region. The origin of the riot was rooted 
in the economic problem. The white buyers and 
landlords had been consistently defrauding the 
Negro countryside by overlooking the enhanced 
value of cotton. Cotton had risen in price from 
a pre-war average of ten cents a pound to 
twenty-eight cents in 1917 and actually to forty 
cents in the current year. Formerly it was gen- 
erally represented to the Negro that he was 
always deep in debt for his "rations" or his 
rent. The white jDolicy was to keep the Negro 
in debt. It was never the custom to render Mm 
accounts or to argue with him when he claimed 
more than was handed him. 

"You had a fine crop — you're just about 
straight/' was a common greeting in the fall 
of 1919. 

But with the prolific Delta crop of cotton 
and a quadruple price, the discontent of the 
Negro can be imagined. It was intense, and 
was growing. 

There are two versions of the outcome of it. 
One is that a firm of white lawyers approached 
some of the Negro planters with an idea of tak- 
ing the matter to court and seeing what could 
be obtained in redress. The other is that the 
Negroes "got together," organized a body 
called "The Farmers' Progressive Union," 



324 THE SOUL OF JOHN BROWN 



which then approached the firm of lawyers on 
its own account. I incline to think that the for- 
mer is the more probable. The white firm 
thought there was money to be made from fight- 
ing Negro claims. Some of the Negroes were 
actually agreed to take the matter to a Federal 
Grand Jury, and charge the "Whites with frus- 
tration of the Fifteenth Amendment to the 
Constitution. 

The Negroes were undoubtedly daring, and 
held public meetings and used sufficient bravado 
to alarm the local white population. The rumor 
flew from farm to farm that the Negroes were 
plotting an insurrection. Someone discovered a 
heap of rifles stacked where they had been left 
and forgotten when the Armistice had inter- 
rupted drilling. This gave the necessary color 
to the idea. Besides the rusty rifles, the Negroes 
were seen to be not without firearms of one kind 
or another. The Negro loves weapons, as an 
Oriental loves jewelry. Shotguns and revolvers 
in plenty are to be found in the cabins of the 
colored country folk. The Whites put up a pro- 
vocateur as before a pogrom in Russia. He 
started firing on Negroes at random in the 
Elaine streets. Then two white officials attempted 
to break into a Negro meeting, resorted 
to arms, and were met by firing in return. One 
of the Whites was killed, the other wounded. 
This started the three days of destruction in 
Phillips County. The whole Negro population 



UP THE MISSISSIPPI 325 



was rounded up by white troops and farmers 
with rifles. Machine guns were even brought 
into play against an imaginary black army. A 
great number of Negroes were put in a stockade 
under military arrest, many were killed, many 
wounded. And three hundred were placed in 
jail and charged with riot and murder. No 
Whites were arrested. The governor, a Mr. 
Brough, was largely responsible for this method 
of investigating the alleged conspiracy of the 
Negroes to make an insurrection. The whole 
occurrence was astonishingly ugly, and it was 
followed by ten-minute trials before exclusively 
white juries, and swift sentences to electrocu- 
tion for some Negro prisoners, and to long 
terms of penal servitude for others. The riot 
and the trials so exasperated Negroes through- 
out the United States that there is no doubt a 
Federal Commission of impartial men might 
well have been appointed to investigate the 
whole affair, both as regards its inception and 
as regards its military culmination and its after- 
math of trial and punishment. As it is, though 
Governor Brough says to the Negroes, "You 
did plan an insurrection, 9 J and though the 
Whites of Elaine may feel happier and more 
secure, it is an obvious truism that the white 
population of other States cannot be feeling 
more secure because of it, and that the Negroes 
in other districts feel less secure — they feel the 



326 THE SOUL OF JOHN BBOWN 



need to arm. It has caused a great increase in 

public insecurity. Perhaps because of this the 
riot has been more discussed than other riots. 
Somewhat shocked and fretful, the governor, 
who is probably a brisk business man, and in no 
way like one of those more neurotic governors 
of Eussian provinces which occur in Andreyev's 
tales, called a meeting. Some four hundred 
"Whites and tamed Xegroes were brought to- 
gether to see what could be done to improve 
race relationship. This was a month after these 
events. 

The Commercial Appeal of Memphis reports 
the governor's remarks: 

1 1 This meeting has been called for the pur- 
pose of a heart-to-heart discussion of the rela- 
tions between the white people and the Xegroes 
of the State. These relations have become 
strained, especially by the recent rebellion in 
Phillips County. I say 'rebellion' advisedly 
and without qualifications, for it was an insur- 
rection, and a damnable one. 

"And I want to say in the beginning that 
Arkansas is going to handle her own problems. 
I do not intend to go to New York City or to 
Topeka, Kansas. "When I want advice from 
Xegroes I shall ask it from Arkansas Xegroes r 
and when I want similar advice from white 
people, I shall get it from the white people of 
Arkansas. 



UP THE MISSISSIPPI 327 



"I also wish to say that I do not intend to be 
intimidated by any publications or any letters 
I may receive. I have already received several 
letters which said that if I permitted the execu- 
tion of these twelve Negroes from Phillips 
County to go through, I would be assassinated. 
One of the letters contained a crude drawing of 
a coffin, represented to be my own in case the 
Negroes were electrocuted. I received one let- 
ter to-day which stated that the entire city of 
Helena would be burned if these Negroes went 
to their death. But I repeat that I will not be 
intimidated by any outside influence in this 
question. Our own questions must be settled 
within the boundaries of our State, and I be- 
lieve that there are not enough representative 
Negroes in the State to do this." 

So said the governor, but it is rather a ques- 
tion whether in these days of Leagues of 
Nations and Alliances and "sympathies" one 
State like Arkansas, washed partly by a great 
river, can live entirely within its own boun- 
daries and without outside consideration. 

The mighty Mississippi rolls onward, bearing 
the spars and the sands of half the States of 
America to the sea. And after the massacre at 
Elaine, for some days, dead bodies of Negroes 
were washed up on other shores. Doleful mes- 
sengers, these, on the river of Time, 



XVI 



AT VICKSBUEG 

I suppose not many make the pilgrimage of 
America; land in New England with the Puri- 
tans or sail up the James River with the Cava- 
liers, linger reflectively at Mt. Vernon, consider 
Boston Harbor and the tax on tea, pause at 
Bunker Hill, and so on — or visit Sumter, where 
the Stars and Stripes were hauled down by the 
South, and then make the tour of the war which 
followed. It would be worth while — to think a 
little at Gettysburg and think again in Georgia, 
walking perchance to the sea after General 
Sherman. No such pilgrimage would be com- 
plete without riding the great mother river of 
America, and it occurred to me that a fitting 
place in which to end a pilgrimage, as far as the 
South is concerned, might be Vicksburg, with 
its vast National Cemetery of the dead of the 
Civil War. It is one of the most remarkable 
war shrines in any land. But, more than that, 
it is a solemn reminder of all the brothers 9 
blood that can be shed out of pride and vain- 
glory of heart, and an obstinate refusal on the 
part of one section of a nation to follow the 
guiding star of the whole. 



328 



AT VICKSBURG 



329 



Vicksburg is a beautiful city, built on a steep 
cliff, continually in sight of the broad, brown, 
passive streams of the Delta and the strips of 
forest which break up the waters. Above it all 
are the beautiful lawns and terraces of the 
National Cemetery rising from the Mississippi 
shore, and the dead lie in view, as it were, of 
the broad loveliness of the river. Sixteen thou- 
sand Americans hallow the soil. They are 
mostly of Grant's army, but over and above 
there is another burying ground with many of 
his enemies. No vulgar notice warns you not to 
pick the flowers. Pick them if you will. But 
poems and prayers are scattered everywhere, 
and still as you go you pause and read, and 
pause and read again — 

On Fame's eternal camping ground 

Their silent tents are spread, 
And glory guards with solemn round 

The bivouac of the dead. 

Tiny cubes of white marble give the soldiers' 
numbers and names and regiments. It reminds 
one now somehow of the great cemeteries of 
France. 

The mighty troop, the flashing blade, 

The bugle's stirring blast, 
The charge, the dreadful cannonade, 

The din, the shout, are past, 

says the next notice board. And yet, are they 
past? Are they not always going on — as long 
as the cause for which the soldiers fought 
remains? 



330 THE SOUL OF JOHN BEOWN 



They fought for unity. They fought also for 
freedom. They had to do what fanatical old 
John Brown set out to do at Harper's Ferry, 
try to release the land from that which was 
abominable in the sight of the Lord. They 
strove to do it by righteous force. They were 
martyrs on the altar of their country. And 
there is no doubt their country loved them for 
their devotion. No land honors more its heroic 
dead than does America. It is no mean thing to 
have died for America. The smoke still rises 
to heaven where her men were slain, and it will 
rise until their cause is completely vindicated. 

Down below in the city, at the corner of Clay 
and Farmer Streets, last year they burned a 
Negro to death, suspending him from a tree 
over a slow fire. According to the evening 
paper, 1 'The flesh on the body began to crinkle 
and blister. The face of the Negro became hor- 
ribly distorted with pain. He assumed an atti- 
tude of prayer, raising his palms together.' 7 

When the victim was dead the leader of the 
mob cried out: 6 'Have you had enough fun, 
boys ? 9 9 And they cut him down. 

That Negro is with John Brown and the re- 
pentant thief and many another such, in Para- 
dise. But those who did the deed are damned. 
The Negroes have been fleeing from Vicksburg 
ever since this terrible day. But the dead of 
the old war remain in these great cemeteries. 



AT VICKSBUKG 331 



Something has been effected: the children of the 
slaves are become free, but the children of those 
who used to be masters still take a Negro now; 
and then and burn him to death. 

I sat on a pyramid of lawn and looked down 
to the river. There was a din of sawmills. The 
Memphis train went howling past, and then 
with a petty rush on the road below an electric 
trolley car from Vicksburg. The world went on 
in seeming peace. A throng of Negro workmen 
holding on to one another came singing along 
the way. They were not slaves, anyway. They 
had life, the beginnings of new life. Though 
fraught with grave dangers, impeded by preju- 
dice and hate and a thousand difficulties — 
nevertheless it was new life that they had. And 
those who died to give it them lie in these quiet 
graves while the river of life goes past. They 
did not mean that the gift of freedom should 
be tarnished. Most of them would be ready to 
die again to complete the gift they gave. And 
John Brown himself if he should reappear 
would not be sweetened by what he saw happen- 
ing in the world. His soul goes marching on, 
but it is still the soul of vengeance and wrath. 



il